In the dead weeds a rubbish heap aflame: the orange flames stream horizontal, windblown they parallel the ground waving up and down the flamepoints alternating the body streaked with loops and purple stains while the pale smoke, above steadily continues eastward-- What chance have the old? There are no duties for them no places where they may sit their knowledge is laughed at they cannot see, they cannot hear. A small bundle on the shoulders weighs them down one hand is put back under it to hold it steady. Their feet hurt, they are weak they should not have to suffer as younger people must and do there should be a truce for them
I've always loved these lines from WCW's "Descent of Winter," which is a kind of daybook consisting of poems & sections of prose. Williams, a pediatrician, was also an acute observer of old age. Beyond that, I love the audacity of the shift between the two stanzas, leaving the reader to make the connections between the objectively rendered description of a burning rubbish pile & his description (less objective) of the old.