The Poetry of Moments in Time


Nothing captures the elusive moment like a poem. Novels are too ham-fisted. Short stories too neat and mindful of their Chekhovian rifles hanging on the wall (“The Big-Bang Theory”). And essays? Please.

For poetry and moments, you need go no further than William Carlos Williams, famous for his dictum, “Say it! No ideas but in things.”

And, when you think about it, it is “things” that make the moment. Usually simple, unassuming things which are imbued with agency in unexpected ways.

Example? The delicious little moment in “The Act”:

There were the roses, in the rain.
Don’t cut them, I pleaded.
        They won’t last, she said.
But they’re so beautiful
        where they are.
Agh, we were all beautiful once, she
and cut them and gave them to me
        in my hand.