Gemima (inspired by TS Eliot's 'Gerontion')

fine image of the genius poet-playwright-autor Thomas Stearns Eliot.

'There I was, an old girl in the shade,
Being prayed for by the boys on the train.
I was neither spared by the cold lake
Nor fought for by the sun
Nor shoe-deep in the coarse ark, waving an atlas,
Broken by spies, undone.
My home is an old home,
And the truth sits on my doorstep, atoned,
Borne on some epithet of blue England,
Picked upon by Ireland, reared upon by Spain.
The moat flies at night like a wheel overhead;
Pike, roach, salmon, carps, finned birds.
The Father keeps my bedroom, spreads old sheets,
Stays awake each evening, hoping for a butler.
I, an old girl,
A bloodied rake beneath the wind.
Veins are shaked by thunder. 'We shall hear the thunder!'
The curs inside stir, unable to sleep,
Bandaged like the gaolered dark. In the tumescence of a tear
Along came Thomas the Doubter
With engraved slaves, pig-washed in lumber, showering Midas,
To be beaten, to be divided, to seem slumped
Amongst easy fens; by Vicar Bolero
With confessing fangs, at seances
Who walk the walls all day:
By tutelage, howling for an curtain;
By mystery tour and spare-roomed shards
That kiss the angel; Madam Merd
Who burned down the Manse, one hand inside. Latent,
Cleave the skin. I have no breasts,
An old girl in the shade
Under boyish plumed prayer.
After such hatred, now for the ridiculous. See now
Mystery has so many flames, unchained morals
And tissues, festivities and hammers,
Guides who pass for rain. See now
Man lives when its death has contracted
And how he lives is livid with rain
That famishes, craves and garbles, gives
Too late for us, who seldom believe, or,
In memory only, travel
Alike to a dying son. See
Neither tears nor marriage save us. Man
Is mothered by a plane. Virtue
Forces up from cracks and relieves
A hot tree from a closed nut.
The Doubter swims in a blue weir. See him dive. See that
We have relived our contusions, have
Broken the houses down. See at last
I have not died for any purpose and
It is not for the dying that I lived
Or swim like a daughter down
And roundly from the tears. I
Would not meet you upon my charity.
I that was youthful is removed from therefrom;
To lose beauty as a peril, o, peril in nobility.
I have died alive. What should I sweep
Beneath me? Which long edifice should
I scarve about me? Which
Place should I fly? I
Have lost my sense of light -
Bells, clearings, churches do not give;
How should I die alive?
These with a billion gnarled perfidiums
Contract an office from my snarled pavillions,
Incite blind proctors, when the stench has failed,
With filigree petals, multiple organs,
Pupils, slides and drains. What shall the Doubter do?
Prefix His observations? Will the Cross
Decay? Vicar, slicker, Cavvy, Shitter,
Whorled down a dream, the deacons smile
Beyond the cervix of an animal veil
In stretchered ivory. Bull against the skin, in the wind
Jackets pass the nails, or run
Like eyries down my doorstep, stop
Where Nobaddy sits. Past
Sleepy corners, ovens, wimples,
Dug-out gourdes and theorised stains,
Here, the Pleiads snack on oats.
An old girl on a a boyish train..'
Copyright JDB 1997.