T.S. Eliot: Poems

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 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 maisonette;

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.