The descent beckons as the ascent beckoned. Memory is a kind of accomplishment, a sort of renewal even an initiation, since the spaces it opens are new places inhabited by hordes heretofore unrealized, of new kinds— since their movements are toward new objectives (even though formerly they were abandoned). No defeat is made up entirely of defeat—since the world it opens is always a place formerly unsuspected. A world lost, a world unsuspected, beckons to new places and no whiteness (lost) is so white as the memory of whiteness. With evening, love wakens though its shadows which are alive by reason of the sun shining— grow sleepy now and drop away from desire. Love without shadows stirs now beginning to awaken as night advances. The descent made up of despairs and without accomplishment realizes a new awakening: which is a reversal of despair. For what we cannot accomplish, what is denied to love, what we have lost in the anticipation— a descent follows, endless and indestructible.
* * *
William Carlos Williams seems to have shared the fate of other Modernist poetry gods like Wallace Stevens and Charles Olson. When I was in college in the 1970s I would have been dumbstruck by the idea that these three poets (who then seemed supernaturally significant) would steadily fade in reputation over the next half century until they approached invisibility. Not that they are attacked or reviled now. Ignored, simply ignored. Forgotten, largely forgotten. Perhaps in future they will return to fashion. Williams was always my favorite, and his work seems to me as beautiful as ever, or more beautiful.