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Overture To A Dance Of Locomotives

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Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams

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 Men with picked voices chant the names 
of cities in a huge gallery: promises 
that pull through descending stairways 
to a deep rumbling.
The rubbing feet of those coming to be carried quicken a grey pavement into soft light that rocks to and fro, under the domed ceiling, across and across from pale earthcolored walls of bare limestone.
Covertly the hands of a great clock go round and round! Were they to move quickly and at once the whole secret would be out and the shuffling of all ants be done forever.
A leaning pyramid of sunlight, narrowing out at a high window, moves by the clock: disaccordant hands straining out from a center: inevitable postures infinitely repeated— two—twofour—twoeight! Porters in red hats run on narrow platforms.
This way ma'am! —important not to take the wrong train! Lights from the concrete ceiling hang crooked but— Poised horizontal on glittering parallels the dingy cylinders packed with a warm glow—inviting entry— pull against the hour.
But brakes can hold a fixed posture till— The whistle! Not twoeight.
Not twofour.
Two! Gliding windows.
Colored cooks sweating in a small kitchen.
Taillights— In time: twofour! In time: twoeight! —rivers are tunneled: trestles cross oozy swampland: wheels repeating the same gesture remain relatively stationary: rails forever parallel return on themselves infinitely.


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