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William Carlos Williams - Tract

I will teach you my townspeople
how to perform a funeral
for you have it over a troop
of artists—
unless one should scour the world—
you have the ground sense necessary.

See! the hearse leads.
I begin with a design for a hearse.
For Christ's sake not black—
nor white either — and not polished!
Let it be whethered—like a farm wagon—
with gilt wheels (this could be
applied fresh at small expense)
or no wheels at all:
a rough dray to drag over the ground.

Knock the glass out!
My God—glass, my townspeople!
For what purpose? Is it for the dead
to look out or for us to see
the flowers or the lack of them—
or what?
To keep the rain and snow from him?
He will have a heavier rain soon:
pebbles and dirt and what not.
Let there be no glass—
and no upholstery, phew!
and no little brass rollers
and small easy wheels on the bottom—
my townspeople, what are you thinking of?
A rough plain hearse then
with gilt wheels and no top at all.
On this the coffin lies
by its own weight.

No wreathes please—
especially no hot house flowers.
Some common memento is better,
something he prized and is known by:
his old clothes—a few books perhaps—
God knows what! You realize
how we are about these things
my townspeople—
something will be found—anything
even flowers if he had come to that.
So much for the hearse.

For heaven's sake though see to the driver!
Take off the silk hat! In fact
that's no place at all for him—
up there unceremoniously
dragging our friend out to his own dignity!
Bring him down—bring him down!
Low and inconspicuous! I'd not have him ride
on the wagon at all—damn him!—
the undertaker's understrapper!
Let him hold the reins
and walk at the side
and inconspicuously too!

Then briefly as to yourselves:
Walk behind—as they do in France,
seventh class, or if you ride
Hell take curtains! Go with some show
of inconvenience; sit openly—
to the weather as to grief.
Or do you think you can shut grief in?
What—from us? We who have perhaps
nothing to lose? Share with us
share with us—it will be money
in your pockets.
Go now
I think you are ready.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 1224 times | Comments and analysis of Tract by William Carlos Williams Comments (497)

Tract - Comments and Information

Poet: William Carlos Williams
Poem: Tract
Poem of the Day: Oct 22 2004

Comment 497 of 497, added on April 7th, 2015 at 9:14 AM.
EOmjZfbVVdRTnYChhV

mDyGwn Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch as I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

nick crorkz from Morocco
Comment 496 of 497, added on April 7th, 2015 at 6:59 AM.
ZTtOoxJTJV

oxfxxd I have been reading out some of your posts and i can state pretty clever stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your website.

crorkz mattz from Trinidad and Tobago, Republic
Comment 495 of 497, added on February 5th, 2015 at 1:40 AM.
LuMLgNhWaGxOsAtkLO

58kRTR Thank you for another excellent post. Where else could anyone get that kind of info in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such info.

crorkzz backz from Israel

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