The murderer’s little daughter
who is barely ten years old
jerks her shoulders
right and left
so as to catch a glimpse of me
without turning round.
Her skinny little arms
wrap themselves
this way then that
reversely about her body!
she crushes her straw hat
about her eyes
and tilts her head
to deepen the shadow—
smiling excitedly!

As best as she can
she hides herself
in the full sunlight
her cordy legs writhing
beneath the little flowered dress
that leaves them bare
from mid-thigh to ankle—

Why has she chosen me
for the knife
that darts along her smile?

Analysis, meaning and summary of William Carlos Williams's poem Sympathetic Portrait Of A Child


  1. usama says:

    I think it is about a man ,amurderer,who feels sad towards his little girl.she gets embarrassed beacause of her father”s illegal gain

  2. Virginia says:

    I think this poem is telling a story about a girl that is getting murdered and how it happen. This poem is very good to me.

  3. Angel Ambriz says:

    I think this poems about a little girl who loves her father. He calls himself a murderer because hes saying that she twisted her leg because she was running toward him to give him a hug and blames himself.

  4. JOYTI says:

    this poem, to, is quite confusing!anyone able to shed light on it would be doing me big favour. thankyou

  5. Michael Summers says:

    I’m surprised that i am the first to comment. IT seems to be a delightful poem, filled with meaning, and all wrapped together by the shocking end. It is not the exact best poem i have read, but it is still high on the list.

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