Thou hast nor youth nor age
       But as it were an after dinner sleep
       Dreaming of both.
     Here I am, an old man in a dry month,
     Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.
     I was neither at the hot gates
     Nor fought in the warm rain
     Nor knee deep in the salt marsh, heaving a cutlass,
     Bitten by flies, fought.
     My house is a decayed house,
     And the jew squats on the window sill, the owner,
     Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp,
     Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London.
     The goat coughs at night in the field overhead;
     Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron, merds.
     The woman keeps the kitchen, makes tea,
     Sneezes at evening, poking the peevish gutter.

                       I an old man,
     A dull head among windy spaces.

     Signs are taken for wonders. "We would see a sign":
     The word within a word, unable to speak a word,
     Swaddled with darkness. In the juvescence of the year
     Came Christ the tiger

     In depraved May, dogwood and chestnut, flowering Judas,
     To be eaten, to be divided, to be drunk
     Among whispers; by Mr. Silvero
     With caressing hands, at Limoges
     Who walked all night in the next room;
     By Hakagawa, bowing among the Titians;
     By Madame de Tornquist, in the dark room
     Shifting the candles; Fraulein von Kulp
     Who turned in the hall, one hand on the door. Vacant shuttles
     Weave the wind. I have no ghosts,
     An old man in a draughty house
     Under a windy knob.

     After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
     History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
     And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
     Guides us by vanities. Think now
     She gives when our attention is distracted
     And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
     That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late
     What's not believed in, or if still believed,
     In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon
     Into weak hands, what's thought can be dispensed with
     Till the refusal propagates a fear. Think
     Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices
     Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues
     Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
     These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.

     The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours. Think at last
     We have not reached conclusion, when I
     Stiffen in a rented house. Think at last
     I have not made this show purposelessly
     And it is not by any concitation
     Of the backward devils.
     I would meet you upon this honestly.
     I that was near your heart was removed therefrom
     To lose beauty in terror, terror in inquisition.
     I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it
     Since what is kept must be adulterated?
     I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch:
     How should I use it for your closer contact?

     These with a thousand small deliberations
     Protract the profit of their chilled delirium,
     Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,
     With pungent sauces, multiply variety
     In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do,
     Suspend its operations, will the weevil
     Delay? De Bailhache, Fresca, Mrs. Cammel, whirled
     Beyond the circuit of the shuddering Bear
     In fractured atoms. Gull against the wind, in the windy straits
     Of Belle Isle, or running on the Horn,
     White feathers in the snow, the Gulf claims,
     And an old man driven by the Trades
     To a sleepy corner.

                       Tenants of the house,
     Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season.


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