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The Widow's Lament in Springtime

The Widow's Lament in Springtime

by William Carlos Williams

Lines 7-10 Summary

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

Lines 7-8

Thirty-five years
I lived with my husband.

  • Now we've got some concrete information. Phew. Our speaker lived thirty-five years with the husband she has just lost.
  • Shmoopers, that is a long time. No wonder she's sad.
  • This line is the final confirmation that the speaker of this poem is indeed the "Widow" from the title. The loss of her husband is the reason she's so unhappy, the reason spring holds no warmth and joy.
  • Even the way our speaker delivers this little detail is heartbreaking. On the surface it's a simple statement of fact. But we know there is a lot of complicated emotion behind it. When you live with someone you love for thirty-five years, well, it's probably pretty hard to let them go, to say the very least.

Lines 9-10

The plum tree is white today
with masses of flowers.

  • Our speaker now describes a plum tree in bloom with white flowers, adding to the pattern of natural imagery that we've seen so far in the poem.
  • The way she says "the" plum tree makes us think the tree is probably also in her yard.
  • A tree in bloom is generally an image of abundance, brightness, and liveliness, right? But because of our speaker's state of mind, with the loss of her husband and that coldness she now feels, the liveliness is not so much invigorating as it is sad.
  • And what about that word "masses"? There's a weight to it, right? As if the flowers on the tree are weighing the tree down. Or as if all this beauty is actually weighing her down. She's too sad to appreciate the warmth and life and color of spring.
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