| Quote #1
By the road to the contagious hospital (line 1)
This might seem a little unfair, since hospitals are places to get better, as well as to die. But, when you add the word "contagious?" Then, you follow it up with all that other death imagery in the poem? We’re off to a kind of death-obsessed start here.
| Quote #2
the waste of broad muddy fields brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen (lines 4-6)
Pretty grim here, too. No green, no life, just brown dead plants and mud. Starts to sound like the setting of a horror movie. What if our speaker is actually a diseased zombie, staggering away from the contagious hospital to feast on the brains of unsuspecting villagers? OK, as much fun as that would be, it would be a pretty big change for this poem – but at least they wouldn’t have to get new scenery.
| Quote #3
small trees with dead brown leaves under them leafless vines (lines 11-13)
Yup, more dead stuff. Since Williams repeats himself a bit here, we can guess he’s sending us a message. He really wants us to soak up this idea of a dead landscape. He wants us to see and feel how lifeless winter can be. He even uses a word, "leafless," that sounds really similar to "lifeless." If we really feel all of the weight of death at the beginning, then the turn towards life hits us even harder.