TRACT - Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde Poems


Poems » oscar fingal o flahertie wills wilde » 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 weathered --       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
how well he is housed       or 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.