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Overture To A Dance Of Locomotives Analysis

Author: poem of William Carlos Williams Type: poem Views: 8

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Men with picked voices chant the names

of cities in a huge gallery: promises

that pull through descending stairways

to a deep rumbling.

                              The rubbing feet

of those coming to be carried quicken a

grey pavement into soft light that rocks

to and fro, under the domed ceiling,

across and across from pale

earthcolored walls of bare limestone.

Covertly the hands of a great clock

go round and round! Were they to

move quickly and at once the whole

secret would be out and the shuffling

of all ants be done forever.

A leaning pyramid of sunlight, narrowing

out at a high window, moves by the clock:

disaccordant hands straining out from

a center: inevitable postures infinitely



Porters in red hats run on narrow platforms.

This way ma'am!

                          —important not to take

the wrong train!

                        Lights from the concrete

ceiling hang crooked but—

                                        Poised horizontal

on glittering parallels the dingy cylinders

packed with a warm glow—inviting entry—

pull against the hour. But brakes can

hold a fixed posture till—

                                      The whistle!

Not twoeight. Not twofour. Two!

Gliding windows. Colored cooks sweating

in a small kitchen. Taillights—

In time: twofour!

In time: twoeight!

—rivers are tunneled: trestles

cross oozy swampland: wheels repeating

the same gesture remain relatively

stationary: rails forever parallel

return on themselves infinitely.

                                            The dance is sure.  

Submitted by Bob


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