Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1948
Dedication: For Charles and Josephine Shain

...this smug little book is a retreat to modes of learning and convention...If in this collection, then, the poet has occasion to juice up his tone, to rehearse the sequestering pleasures of order perceived as a submission to the old conventions by which we cope with or understand our experience...the impresson given by the twenty-nine brief poems taken generally is one of constraint rather than control. -Richard Howard, Contemporary Literary Criticism 22.

Go, little book. If anybody asks
Why I add poems to a time like this,
Tell how the comeliness I can't take in
Of ships and other figures of content
Compels me still until I give them names;
And how I give them names impatiently,
As who should pull up roses by the roots
That keep him turning on his empty bed,
The smell intolerable and thick with loss.


Reprinted from Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems by William Meredith, published by TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press in 1997. Copyright © 1997 by William Meredith. All rights reserved; used by permission of Northwestern University Press and the author.

Other poems from Ships and Other Figures...

To Love Letter From An Impossible Land... | To The Open Sea...