Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Last Words of My English Grandmother

The Last Words of My English Grandmother 
by William Carlos Williams

There were some dirty plates
and a glass of milk
beside her on a small table
near the rank, disheveled bed -

Wrinkled and nearly blind
she lay and snored
rousing with anger in her tones
to cry for food,

Gimme something to eat -
they're starving me -
I'm all right I won't go
to the hospital. No, no, no

Give me something to eat
Let me take you
to the hospital, I said
and after you are well

you can do as you please.
She smiled. Yes
you do what you please first
then I can do what I please -

Oh, oh, oh! she cried
as the ambulance men lifted
her to the stretcher -
Is this what you call

making me comfortable?
By now her mind was clear -
Oh you think you're smart
you young people,

she said, but I'll tell you
you don't know anything.
Then we started.
On the way

we passed a long row
of elms. She looked at them
awhile out of
the ambulance window and said,

What are all those
fuzzy-looking things out there?
Trees? Well I'm tired
of them and rolled her head away.

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