April 12, 2016

Friday, June 5, 2009

Poetry Friday

My father-in-law passed away this week at the age of 65. He spent two weeks at St. Mary's Hospital in Passaic, NJ, where William Carlos Williams was a longtime staff doctor.
Here is his poem, "The Last Words of My English Grandmother." I love this elegy because Williams doesn't try to pretty up his grandmother or her struggle to stay in control, even as she faces death.
The Last Words of My English Grandmother
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—

This is the plaque to Williams at St. Mary's Hospital. My husband pointed out that -- even at the hospital -- they put "poet" before "physician."

More Poetry Friday at this week's host...Read, Write, Believe.

Robert Albert Shovan December 2, 1943 - June 2, 2009.


jama said...

Sorry to hear about your FIL. The WCW poem is wonderful (new to me). It's so . . . real.

Sara said...

I'm sorry for your loss. This is a WCW I've not seen before, and it's so bracing. No prettying up, as you say.

Author Amok said...

Thank you both. I love that last line about the trees. Saying goodbye to a difficult person can be just as emotional as someone we had an easy, loving relationship with. I'm really grateful for this poem.

Marinela said...

I'm sorry for your loss, its a lovely and emotional poem.

susan said...

I know a lot about death. Tidy and cooperative it isn't. Hope you and your family find comfort in one another.

Author Amok said...

Thanks again, everyone. I did feel as if WCW were watching over us.