Study Guide

The Last Words of My English Grandmother Stanza 8

By William Carlos Williams

Stanza 8

Lines 29-32

she said, but I'll tell you
you don't know anything.
Then we started.
On the way

  • The grandmother finishes her thought from the previous stanza, telling the young folks that they don't know nearly as much as they think they do. 
  • We think this line gives her a kind of dignity. Her body might be failing her, but she's got a wealth of knowledge from her long life. She knows things that only a person who's lived as long as she has can know. 
  • The last two lines of the stanza are short and to the point. They're now in the ambulance and headed to the hospital. 
  • Something about the almost bland nature of the words makes them even more moving. The speaker doesn't play into the melodrama of the situation. 
  • He reports the facts. And the facts are scary. 
  • We're left hanging as another enjambment ends this stanza and leads us into the next.

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