What have I to say to you
When we shall meet?
Yet—
I lie here thinking of you.
The stain of love
Is upon the world.
Yellow, yellow, yellow,
It eats into the leaves,
Smears with saffron
The horned branches that lean
Heavily
Against a smooth purple sky.
There is no light—
Only a honey-thick stain
That drips from leaf to leaf
And limb to limb
Spoiling the colours
Of the whole world.
I am alone.
The weight of love
Has buoyed me up
Till my head
Knocks against the sky.
See me!
My hair is dripping with nectar—
Starlings carry it
On their black wings.
See, at last
My arms and my hands
Are lying idle.
How can I tell
If I shall ever love you again
As I do now?
 
First published in Poems 1916.

About "A Love Song"

Of the poem, Williams said, "I was thinking of Demuth's picture of the sky over the horizon." Despite its simple beginnings, "A Love Song" went through multiple revisions—to the point that Williams sent a second draft to the literary journal, Poetry, after Ezra Pound had already forwarded an earlier one to the editor.

Poems by This Author

Approach of Winter by William Carlos Williams
The half-stripped trees
Asphodel, That Greeny Flower [excerpt] by William Carlos Williams
Of asphodel, that greeny flower,
Complaint by William Carlos Williams
They call me and I go
Complete Destruction by William Carlos Williams
It was an icy day
Danse Russe by William Carlos Williams
If when my wife is sleeping
Details for Paterson by William Carlos Williams
I just saw two boys
For the Poem Paterson [1. Detail] by William Carlos Williams
Her milk don't seem to
For the Poem Paterson [3. St. Valentine] by William Carlos Williams
A woman's breasts
Gulls by William Carlos Williams
My townspeople, beyond in the great world
It Is a Small Plant by William Carlos Williams
It is a small plant
Landscape With The Fall of Icarus by William Carlos Williams
According to Brueghel
Marriage by William Carlos Williams
So different, this man
Peace on Earth by William Carlos Williams
The Archer is wake
Poem [Daniel Boone] by William Carlos Williams
Daniel Boone, the father of Kentucky
Poem [on getting a card] by William Carlos Williams
on getting a card
Queen-Anne's-Lace by William Carlos Williams
Her body is not so white as
Smell by William Carlos Williams
Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed
Spring and All [By the road to the contagious hospital] by William Carlos Williams
By the road to the contagious hospital
Spring and All, XIV by William Carlos Williams
Of death
Spring Storm by William Carlos Williams
The sky has given over
Summer Song by William Carlos Williams
Wanderer moon
The Descent by William Carlos Williams
The descent beckons
The Great Figure by William Carlos Williams
Among the rain
The Hurricane by William Carlos Williams
The tree lay down
The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams
so much depends
The Uses of Poetry by William Carlos Williams
I've fond anticipation of a day
The Widow's Lament in Springtime by William Carlos Williams
Sorrow is my own yard
This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
To a Poor Old Woman by William Carlos Williams
munching a plum on
To Elsie by William Carlos Williams
The pure products of America
Tract by William Carlos Williams
I will teach you my townspeople
Winter Trees by William Carlos Williams
All the complicated details


Further Reading

Poems About Difficult Love
Amorosa Erranza
by Julian T. Brolaski
Anna, Thy Charms
by Robert Burns
Be Near Me
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Caboose Thoughts
by Carl Sandburg
Conspiracy to Commit Larceny: A Recipe
by Jennifer Militello
Demon and The Dove
by Miguel Murphy
Designer Kisses
by Major Jackson
Dregs
by César Vallejo
Enemies
by Dante Micheaux
He would not stay for me, and who can wonder
by A. E. Housman
How Much?
by Carl Sandburg
I Am Not Yours
by Sara Teasdale
I Do Not Love Thee
by Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton
I have lived in your face
by Jean Valentine
I know I am but summer to your heart (Sonnet XXVII)
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I'm A Fool To Love You
by Cornelius Eady
Last Words to Miriam
by D. H. Lawrence
Love
by Katy Lederer
Love in Fantastique Triumph satt
by Aphra Behn
Love's Secret
by William Blake
Loving and Beloved
by Sir John Suckling
My Love Sent Me a List
by Olena Kalytiak Davis
Never give all the heart
by W. B. Yeats
Not
by Sophie Cabot Black
One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop
Opal
by Amy Lowell
Our Bed Is Also Green
by Joshua Bell
Passer Mortuus Est
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Pericardium
by Joanna Klink
Poetry Anonymous
by Prageeta Sharma
Prayer
by Robert Glück
Red and Blue Planets
by Joni Wallace
Renouncement
by Alice Meynell
Sometimes with One I Love
by Walt Whitman
Song of Myself, XI
by Walt Whitman
Sonnet 102 [If no love is, O God, what fele I so?]
by Petrarch
Sonnet 12 [Alas, so all things now do hold their peace]
by Petrarch
Talking to Patrizia
by Kenneth Koch
The Barrier
by Claude McKay
The Flight
by Sara Teasdale
The Heart Breaking
by Abraham Cowley
The More Loving One
by W. H. Auden
The Peace That So Lovingly Descends
by Noelle Kocot
The Unloved to His Beloved
by William Alexander Percy
They Romp with Wooly Canines
by Patricia Smith
They Were Not Kidding in the Fourteenth Century
by Maureen N. McLane
This Deepening Takes Place Again
by Emily Kendal Frey
To A Sea-Cliff
by Thomas Hardy
To Electra
by Robert Herrick
To His Coy Love
by Michael Drayton
UTOPIA: Love as Free as a Fountain
by Joe Hall
What Do I Care
by Sara Teasdale
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand
by Walt Whitman
Witch-Wife
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
[I Failed Him and He Failed Me]
by Katie Ford