Verse > T.S. Eliot > Poems
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T.S. Eliot (1888–1965).  Poems.  1920.
 
10. Whispers of Immortality
 
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        5
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;        10
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        15
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.        20
 
The couched Brazilian jaguar
Compels the scampering marmoset
With subtle effluence of cat;
Grishkin has a maisonette;
 
The sleek Brazilian jaguar        25
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;        30
But our lot crawls between dry ribs
To keep our metaphysics warm.
 
 
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