Monday, February 15, 2010
"The Dance" Response
William Carlos Williams' poem, "The Dance" uses careful craft to convey the emotion of artist, Breughel's painting, The Kermess. The first thing that I noticed was the repetition of the word, "round," as well as the assonance of round and the "o" sound, as in "go." Given the subject, the repetition sets the stage for a few things. First, repetition alone can mimic dance steps, and second, by the word choice and the "o" sounds, a circular motion is suggested. The second thing I noticed was the appearance of the conjunction "and." I think it's unusual to see so many conjunctions in a poem, and such a short one at that. The use of the word "and" makes the bulk of the poem a run-on sentence. But that is the pace and rhythm that Williams was trying to achieve. The "and's" facilitate movement so when the poem is read, the tempo flows freely. Lastly, I noticed that the rhythm of many of the lines imitates the steps of the waltz. The waltz is unusual in using a three-count measure of music, with a stress on the first count, then two downbeats following (1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 3, etc.). For example, the line "tweedle of bagpipes, a bugle and fiddles," follows this step pattern, a craft technique emphasizing the idea of a dance.