Boxed Crab

Boxed Crab

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audio: Boxed Crab
audio of Steve Potter's poem, Boxed Crab

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Boxed Crab

    “Forcing twentieth-century America into a sonnetgosh, how I hate sonnetsis like
    putting a crab into a square box. You’ve got to cut his legs off to make him fit. When
    you get through, you don’t have a crab any more.”

                                                                                          —William Carlos Williams            

 

Dear Doctor Williams, with all due respect
For worlds of pleasure I’ve found in your verse,
On this account I feel I must defect.
I love your offhand lines “so much for the hearse”
From “Tract” for one—and how you defied the norm,
Filled your poems with ordinary speech
And escaped the strictures of long-standing form
Extending by great lengths the poet’s reach.

But, gosh, the twentieth-century whole?
A crab so large should be delegged, declawed!
Who, dredging such a creature from the shoal,
Would not pull back in horror overawed?
A crab of such size must be cut to fit
Boiled, dipped in butter, eaten bit by bit.