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"Danse Russe" by William Carlos William.

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"Danse Russe" by William Carlos William.

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  • September 21, 2005
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William Carlos Williams' poem "Danse Russe," is written like most modern poetry, in free verse. Like nearly all of Williams' work, "Danse Russe" has no meter nor does it follow any rhyme scheme whatsoever. Disregarding an iamb or steady beat pattern, the poem's rhythm is organic, rather than metrical, meaning that the poem flows smoothly from one line to the next without any guidelines to follow. It is almost as if the poem is to be read as a small statement or random thought occurring inside the mind of the poem's voice. After reading the poem in its entirety a few times, the voice of the poem is a middle-aged male, probably of middleclass. There seems to be a sense of urgency, as though the voice does not have much time to himself to enjoy peace and quiet.

In the very first lines of the poem, "If I when my wife.../ and the baby Kathleen/ are sleeping," the reader is given the idea that the time at which the events of the poem are occurring are most likely going to be very late in the evening or early morning. One could assume it is early in the morning as lines four through six describes the sun as "a flame-white disc/ in silken mists/ above shining trees." Williams's vivid description of the sun rising above the shiny trees instantly gives the reader a clear image of that time just after dawn when the sun is clearing the trees and giving them a glowing look. William's imagery, though in its most vivaciousness here, is not limited to these early lines (Schneider). As the reader moves further down to line eight, the voice of the poem contemplates dancing in his "north room," or private study. But not only does the voice contemplate his antics, he goes into detail describing his motions as grotesque and crude.

While describing his movements as he sees them in the mirror, the voice is one of deep admiration for the beauty of the naked body. The subject of the poem twists and turns in such odd positions in order to be able to admire various physical aspects...