Last Lafs

William Carlos Williams draws a parallel between the “stubborn man” and the “rocks” in “The Seafarer”.

[…] They strain
forward to grasp ships
or even the sky itself that
bends down to be torn
upon them. To which he says,
It is I! I who am the rocks!
Without me nothing laughs.

It was in hearing the poet read the work that I became aware of the echo of “last” in the last line. It is the American pronunciation that betokens the semantic echo of the last laugh. The other (British) pronunciation rhymes with “scoff” and here takes up a partial rhyme with “rocks” but doesn’t convey the phrase “last laughs”.

See the Cambridge Dictionary:

PennSound houses a recording of the poet reading the work Reading and Commentary at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA Poetry Center, New York. January 27, 1954 in a set of recordings compiled and edited by Richard Swigg.

And so for day 1711

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