The Last Words of My English Grandmother

Williams, William Carlos

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice
  • Date of entry: Mar-05-2002


This is a description of the last moments of the narrator's ailing grandmother. She is "wrinkled and nearly blind," and protests cantankerously as the ambulance speeds her towards the hospital. However, in a sudden change of character, her last words express how tired she is of looking at the passing trees; her loss of interest in the view parallels her loss of interest in life.


This poem was modified from an earlier, longer version, Last Words of My Grandmother (First Version) (see this database). This later version concentrates more on grandmother and her dying, and less on the narrator and his relationship with her. For those reading Williams in a literature and medicine context, Hugh Crawford's book, Modernism, Medicine, & William Carlos Williams (annotated in this database), may be of interest.


First published: 1939

Primary Source

The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Vol. 1


New Directions

Place Published

New York




A. Walton Litz & Christopher MacGowan