I can’t believe I’ve never seen this before! My favourite poet, Frank O’Hara, reading Having A Coke WIth You in his apartment in 1966. His poems blend flippancy with poignancy; the profound with the casual. I think it’s always instructive to see or hear a poet reading their own work, especially someone whose work relies on the rhythm and music of conversational speech.
You can hear William Carlos Williams reading this poem here at the Open Culture website. It has a beautiful melody to it.
The Three Graces by William Carlos Williams
We have the picture of you in mind,
when you were young, posturing
(for a photographer) in scarves
(if you could have done it) but now,
for none of you is immortal, ninety-
three, the three, ninety and three,
Mary, Ellen and Emily, what
beauty is it clings still about you?
Undying? Magical? For there is still
no answer, why we live or why
you will not live longer than I
or that there should be an answer why
any should live and whatever other
should die. Yet you live. You live
and all that can be said is that
you live, time cannot alter it–
and as I write this Mary has died.