About the poet
William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) famously combined the two careers of doctor and writer,...
Queen Anne's Lace
Her body is not so white as
anemone petals nor so smooth - nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with a purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand's span
of her whiteness. Wherever
her hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish. Each part
is a blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to its end,
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty, a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over -
'Queen Anne's Lace' from The Collected Poems: Volume I 1909-1939 (New Directions, 1986), used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation. The recording was made on May 5, 1945 at the Recording Laboratory, Library of Congress, Washington DC, and is used with permission of the Library of Congress.