How is imagery used in the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow?"
"The Red Wheelbarrow" is one of the most famous poems from William Carlos Williams. It is so short that it can be reproduced here in its entirety:
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
(Williams, "The Red Wheelbarrow)
The style of the poem is Imagist, a style that rejected flowery or allegorical prose in favor of clear, explicit language. The images of the poem create, all by themselves, the interpretation of the poem; the first line makes it clear that the wheelbarrow is not just an ornament but a working tool, red for easy use in the early morning and late night, and an essential tool for the farm. This shows the usefulness of a single object, something that is not a metaphor for the human condition, but a tool of labor.
The other images, the "glazed rain water" and the "white chickens," serve to cement the setting, the utilitarian nature of the farm -- the wheelbarrow is not planted with flowers, but sitting momentarily unused next to the chickens, which themselves are essential parts of a farm's operation. Any other interpretations, allegorical or metaphorical, are personal to the reader (is the wheelbarrow a symbol of "the daily grind?"); the poem instead shows three images and explains why they are important. Setting meaning to anything other than the actual words of the poem is subjective; the poem focuses on creating the feeling of actually seeing the scene, as well as eliminating unnecessary language.