Whispers of Immortality by T. S. Eliot | Poetry Foundation

Posted: June 6, 2021 at 7:33 pm

Webster was much possessed by death

And saw the skull beneath the skin;

And breastless creatures under ground

Leaned backward with a lipless grin.

Daffodil bulbs instead of balls

Stared from the sockets of the eyes!

He knew that thought clings round dead limbs

Tightening its lusts and luxuries.

Donne, I suppose, was such another

Who found no substitute for sense,

To seize and clutch and penetrate;

Expert beyond experience,

He knew the anguish of the marrow

The ague of the skeleton;

No contact possible to flesh

Allayed the fever of the bone.

. . . . .

Grishkin is nice: her Russian eye

Is underlined for emphasis;

Uncorseted, her friendly bust

Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.

The couched Brazilian jaguar

Compels the scampering marmoset

With subtle effluence of cat;

Grishkin has a maisonnette;

The sleek Brazilian jaguar

Does not in its arboreal gloom

Distil so rank a feline smell

As Grishkin in a drawing-room.

And even the Abstract Entities

Circumambulate her charm;

But our lot crawls between dry ribs

To keep our metaphysics warm.

1918, 1919

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Whispers of Immortality by T. S. Eliot | Poetry Foundation

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