[ilds] giving / Quotations from the daily treaty poets make / With men

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Fri Mar 7 21:09:29 PST 2008


For T.S. Eliot

Poetry, science of intimacies,
In you his early roots drove through
The barbarian compost of our English
To sound new veins and marbled all his verses
Through and through like old black ledgers,
Hedging in pain by form, and giving
Quotations from the daily treaty poets make
With men, possessions or a private demon:
Became at last this famous solitary
Sitting at one bleak uncurtained window
Over wintry London patiently repeating
That art is determined by its ends
In conscience and in morals. This was startling.
Yet marriages might be arranged between
Old fashions and contemporary disorders.
Sole student of balance in a falling world
He helped us mend the little greenstick fractures
Of our verse, taught polish in austerity.

Others who know him will add private humours,
And photographs to albums; taken near Paris,
Say, drinking among some foreign dons all night
 From leather bubbles in a tavern: a remark
That silenced a fussy duke: yet these
Alluding and delimiting can only mystify
The singer and his mystery more, they do not chain.
Neither may we ever explain but pointing
To a new star one needs new vision for
Like some late hornbeam risen over England,
Relate it to a single sitting man,
In a high window there, beside a lamp,
Some crumpled paper, a disordered bed.


slighcl wrote:
> PRESS INTERVIEW [from Collected Poems: 1931-1974 (1985) , Faber and Faber  ]
> Capacities in doubt and lovers failing?
> We feel time freshen but we keep on sailing.
> No, sir, I do not cannibalise my fellow-man
> In writing of him. I just fict.
> Unfashionable if you wish, or even unreal
> So to evict the owner from his acts
> In propria persona; spit out the bones
> When once the bloody platter's licked.
> Of course things experienced or overheard
> Swarm up the wall and knock;
> But we disperse them as they flock
> And redistribute, word by silly word.
> But when Totals turn up and insist
> We give them way; and only then you see,
> However chimerical or choice or few,
> One cannot copy to unearth the new.
> 1966/ 1966

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