They call me and I go.
It is a frozen road
past midnight, a dust
of snow caught
in the rigid wheeltracks.
The door opens.
I smile, enter and
shake off the cold.
Here is a great woman
on her side in the bed.
She is sick,
perhaps vomiting,
perhaps laboring
to give birth to
a tenth child. Joy! Joy!
Night is a room
darkened for lovers,
through the jalousies the sun
has sent one golden needle!
I pick the hair from her eyes
and watch her misery
with compassion.

Analysis, meaning and summary of William Carlos Williams's poem Complaint


  1. Frank says:

    I look at the word “complaint’ in the medical sense. Like “I told my doctor I had a back complaint.” After 9 children, this woman having her 10th is in line with a “complaint” but even still the pain and wonder of child birth, and the duty and compassion of a doctor elevate this medical “complaint” to something more transcendent.

  2. Ale says:

    this poem was very interesting at first i thought it was a complaint

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