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Themes

This one might seem too obvious, but stick with us here. Time is definitely a factor in that the changing of the seasons is all about the passage of time. The interesting and tricky thing about time here is that it’s hard to tell whether the coming of spring – this big event we’ve been talking about so much – really happens in this poem at all. The speaker definitely imagines it in the future, but is he watching it happen too? Is the time in this poem in the real world, or in his mind? When the plants "grip down, and begin to awaken," are we seeing them come up, or just imagining what’s going to happen?

Questions About Time

  1. What words does Williams use to tip us off to the passing of time? What do they tell us about how time works in this poem?
  2. Does time actually pass in this poem? Are we literally watching grass grow, or does it just feel that way? Is this a snapshot, or a video clip?
  3. Does this seem like a particular moment in time, or a general description of how time passes? What clues are there to suggest that we might be watching the arrival of a particular spring, or, on the other hand, just rehashing the way spring comes every year?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although the speaker of the poem imagines a big change about to take place, nothing actually happens in this poem.

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