Danse Russe

If I when my wife is sleeping

and the baby and Kathleen

are sleeping

and the sun is a flame-white disc

in silken mists

above shining trees, —

if I in my north room

dance naked, grotesquely

before my mirror

waving my shirt round my head

and singing softly to myself:

“I am lonely, lonely.

I was born to be lonely,

I am best so!”

If I admire my arms, my face,

my shoulders, flanks, buttocks

against the yellow drawn shades, —


Who shall say I am not

the happy genius of my household?

Bibliographical info

William Carlos Williams, “Danse Russe” from The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Vol. 1: 1909-1939. Copyright © 1991 by New Directions Publishing Corporation. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Vol. 1: 1909-1939 (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1991).

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