William Jay Smith was born in 1918 in Winnfield, Louisiana. He studied at Washington University, Columbia University, and at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Smith served as a poetry consultant to the Library of Congress (the position now known as the U.S. Poet Laureate) from 1968 until 1970, and has been a member of The Academy of Arts and Letters since 1975, as well as a former vice-president for literature. Smith, noted for his translations, has won awards from both the French Academy, the Swedish Academy, and the Hungarian government. Including his most recent collection, The Cherokee Lottery (Curbstone Press, 2000), he has written ten collections of poetry, two of which were nominated for the National Book Award. Smith was a poet in residence at Williams College from 1959-1967, Chairman of the Writing Division of the School of Arts at Columbia University from 1973 until 1975, and currently is the Professor Emeritus of English at Hollins College. Smith makes his home between Cummington, Massachusetts, and Paris, France.
The World Below the Window
The geraniums I left last night on the windowsill, To the best of my knowledge now, are out there still, And will be there as long as I think they will. And will be there as long as I think that I Can throw the window open on the sky, A touch of geranium pink in the tail of my eye; As long as I think I see, past leaves green-growing, Barges moving down a river, water flowing, Fulfillment in the thought of thought outgoing, Fulfillment in the sight of sight replying, Of sound in the sound of small birds southward flying, In life life-giving, and in death undying. 
From The World Below the Window: Poems 1937-1997 by William Jay Smith, page 3. Copyright © 1998 by William Jay Smith. Reprinted with the permission of Johns Hopkins University. All rights reserved.