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Spring and All

Spring and All

by William Carlos Williams

Section II (lines 9-15) Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 9-13

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-

  • More fun with dead plants.
  • Around the edges, Williams does start to breathe some life into the scene. Some new colors do appear – reddish and purplish – but, for the most part, we’re still up close and personal with dry, brown leaves and trees.

Lines 14-15

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-

  • Then, just as you might be getting tired of this stuff… WHAM. The poem shifts, and we catch our first glimpse of spring.
  • It doesn’t happen right away; in fact, it sort of sneaks into the line, appearing in the distance.
  • At first, we can’t even tell it’s there. The landscape still seems "lifeless," just like the vines in line 13 were "leafless."
  • But, something has changed, and Williams wants us to look more closely. Spring is there, waiting for us to see it.
  • Even though there aren’t any real characters in this poem, spring is introduced as if it has a personality. Like some creature waking up, it is "sluggish" and "dazed."
  • This is the first sign of life, and it’s also the first thing Williams treats like a living being.
  • He’s not going to beat you over the head with it, but this is a big moment. The entire book is called "Spring and All," and now… here’s spring.
  • OK, so we sort of beat you over the head with it – sorry about that.

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