Fire and Ice

Complete Destruction
by: William Carlos Williams

It was an icy day.
We buried the cat,
then took her box
and set fire to it

in the back yard.
Those fleas that escaped
earth and fire
died by the cold.

The juxtaposition of fire and ice is often a popular poetic device for a poet- whether it be in the complex poetry of Robert Frost, such as the fittingly named “Fire and Ice” or in this rather simpler poem by William Carlos Williams. The fascinating parallel between both poems is the speaker’s both isolation of the two concepts of fire and ice and yet simultaneous connection between the two. It is this paradox that ultimately reflects the poets ideas and Williams’s general philosophy on life: each life is similar only in that it has an end (whatever that may be), and to live attempting to escape this end is futile. One must live life for life, treasuring each moment. Just as the poem, so too does life begin with this “icy day” only to end in the cold; it is the moments that bring fire and passion that are the essence of living. 

This entry was posted in Homework, Honors English III, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Fire and Ice

  1. jillianhaywood says:

    Beanie’s third sentence is very interesting because she relates this specific poem to Williams’ “philosophy on life.”

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