I will teach you my townspeople
how to perform a funeral
for you have it over a troop
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 whetheredlike 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 Godglass, my townspeople!
For what purpose? Is it for the dead
to look out or for us to see
the flowers or the lack of them
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 clothesa few books perhaps
God knows what! You realize
how we are about these things
something will be foundanything
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 downbring him down!
Low and inconspicuous! I'd not have him ride
on the wagon at alldamn him!
the undertaker's understrapper!
Let him hold the reins
and walk at the side
and inconspicuously too!
Then briefly as to yourselves:
Walk behindas 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?
Whatfrom us? We who have perhaps
nothing to lose? Share with us
share with usit will be money
in your pockets.
I think you are ready.