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 (5)
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, (10)
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 (15)
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. (20)
The couched Brazilian jaguar
Compels the scampering marmoset
With subtle effluence of cat;
Grishkin has a maisonette;
The sleek Brazilian jaguar (25)
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; (30)
But our lot crawls between dry ribs
To keep our metaphysics warm.
(from "Poems," 1920)