William Carlos Williams' The Rose - A Symbol of Love

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William Carlos Williams' The Rose - A Symbol of Love

William Carlos Williams was a poet and writer who defied norms and constrictions in order to achieve new perspective and enlightenment, especially when it involved the tried and true. He sought to bring new life to old concepts through allowing imagination to shape the form, instead of allowing old ideas to influence our understanding of the subject. This is especially true in the poem "The Rose", which approaches a subject that may induce thoughts of significant others and prom-night disasters, and instead elaborates on the roots of the age-old symbol for love. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea what this poem is about, so hopefully something will make sense by the end of this paper.

The poem starts out as a description of the flower that we all have either received, given, longed for, or been cut by. Instantly, there is the feel of conflict in the language that is being used. Abrasive, heavy words that could be used to describe a murder are mixed with other words that seem to convey a sense of hope and spacial energy. The clusters of thought that somehow constitute a complete sentence make the reading somewhat difficult from the very beginning, but it seems to take on a multi-layered personality as the poem plays itself out. Although there is no mention of the thorny stem, words such as 'sharper', 'cutting', and 'edge', instead describe the flower itself. The constant reference to materials that possess qualities different from any rose such as 'metal', 'copper', 'broken plate", and 'steel', serve to indicate that this flower is being seen through a set of eyes that have perhaps been cast and hardened by the capacity for love.

In contrast to the Nine-Inch Nails words, there are several phrases that become rather ethereal in their incantation. "Grooved columns of air", "But if it ends the start has begun", and "penetrates the Milky Way without contact" all seem to place this flower at the very center of nothingness. This contrast brings to mind high quality photography, which can make an image seem to have sharp edges and contrast greatly with its background.
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