William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow"
The key to the poem, like the key to so many imagist poems, is to consider it like a cubist painting. The fracturing makes meaning, giving the poem a multiplicity of resonances. By the end of it you're only too ready to admit that "so much" does in fact "depend / upon / a red wheel / barrow..." The image is everything--seemingly so simple and yet so extraordinarily complicated.
Students confront this poem and others like it and say "I could have written that" without really understanding that they didn't. I'm sure some of them could have painted "Les Desmoiselles D'Avignon," but who in their right mind but Picasso would have ever thought to?