Poetry: T. S. Eliot - Sweeney Erect - A Cooking Egg - Link

Posted by Ricardo Marcenaro | Posted in | Posted on 18:20

Sweeney Erect

                           And the trees about me,
       Let them be dry and leafless; let the rocks
       Groan with continual surges; and behind me
       Make all a desolation. Look, look, wenches!

     Paint me a cavernous waste shore
     Cast in the unstilted Cyclades,
     Paint me the bold anfractuous rocks
     Faced by the snarled and yelping seas.

     Display me Aeolus above
     Reviewing the insurgent gales
     Which tangle Ariadne's hair
     And swell with haste the perjured sails.

     Morning stirs the feet and hands
     (Nausicaa and Polypheme),
     Gesture of orang-outang
     Rises from the sheets in steam.

     This withered root of knots of hair
     Slitted below and gashed with eyes,
     This oval O cropped out with teeth:
     The sickle motion from the thighs

     Jackknifes upward at the knees
     Then straightens out from heel to hip
     Pushing the framework of the bed
     And clawing at the pillow slip.

     Sweeney addressed full length to shave
     Broadbottomed, pink from nape to base,
     Knows the female temperament
     And wipes the suds around his face.

     (The lengthened shadow of a man
     Is history, said Emerson
     Who had not seen the silhouette
     Of Sweeney straddled in the sun).

     Tests the razor on his leg
     Waiting until the shriek subsides.
     The epileptic on the bed
     Curves backward, clutching at her sides.

     The ladies of the corridor
     Find themselves involved, disgraced,
     Call witness to their principles
     And deprecate the lack of taste

     Observing that hysteria
     Might easily be misunderstood;
     Mrs. Turner intimates
     It does the house no sort of good.

     But Doris, towelled from the bath,
     Enters padding on broad feet,
     Bringing sal volatile
     And a glass of brandy neat.

A Cooking Egg

       En l'an trentiesme de mon aage
       Que toutes mes hontes j'ay beues...

     Pipit sate upright in her chair
       Some distance from where I was sitting;
     Views of the Oxford Colleges
       Lay on the table, with the knitting.

     Daguerreotypes and silhouettes,
       Her grandfather and great great aunts,
     Supported on the mantelpiece
       An Invitation to the Dance.
      .    .    .    .    .    .
     I shall not want Honour in Heaven
       For I shall meet Sir Philip Sidney
     And have talk with Coriolanus
       And other heroes of that kidney.

     I shall not want Capital in Heaven
       For I shall meet Sir Alfred Mond:
     We two shall lie together, lapt
       In a five per cent Exchequer Bond.

     I shall not want Society in Heaven,
       Lucretia Borgia shall be my Bride;
     Her anecdotes will be more amusing
       Than Pipit's experience could provide.

     I shall not want Pipit in Heaven:
       Madame Blavatsky will instruct me
     In the Seven Sacred Trances;
       Piccarda de Donati will conduct me.

      .    .    .    .    .    .

     But where is the penny world I bought
       To eat with Pipit behind the screen?
     The red-eyed scavengers are creeping
       From Kentish Town and Golder's Green;

     Where are the eagles and the trumpets?

       Buried beneath some snow-deep Alps.
     Over buttered scones and crumpets
       Weeping, weeping multitudes
     Droop in a hundred A.B.C.'s

     ["ABC's" signifes endemic teashops, found in all parts of
     London. The initials signify "Aerated Bread Company,

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