poets to go in fear of abstraction;
one should find the image that symbolized
the age’s usurious malefaction.
Eliot, finding Hamlet deficient,
wanted an object that could correlate
with a given emotion, an efficient
formula traditioned readers could translate.
William Carlos Williams had his version
“Say it!” he said, “no ideas but in things”:
Things like Elsie, wheelbarrows, an excursion
to the contagious hospital in spring.
Modern poems are a junk yard, a heap
of broken images, but strip the paint,
or glue the pieces, and you find the cheap,
naked, lovely, poetry of complaint.