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    T. S. Eliot - Sweeney Among The Nightingales

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    poetictouch

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    T. S. Eliot reads his poem Sweeney Among The Nightingales

    Sweeney Among The Nightingales
    by T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

    Apeneck Sweeney spreads his knees
    Letting his arms hang down to laugh,
    The zebra stripes along his jaw
    Swelling to maculate giraffe.

    The circles of the stormy moon
    Slide westward toward the River Plate,
    Death and the Raven drift above
    And Sweeney guards the hornèd gate.

    Gloomy Orion and the Dog
    Are veiled; and hushed the shrunken seas;
    The person in the Spanish cape
    Tries to sit on Sweeney's knees

    Slips and pulls the table cloth
    Overturns a coffee-cup,
    Reorganized upon the floor
    She yawns and draws a stocking up;

    The silent man in mocha brown
    Sprawls at the window-sill and gapes;
    The waiter brings in oranges
    Bananas figs and hothouse grapes;

    The silent vertebrate in brown
    Contracts and concentrates, withdraws;
    Rachel née Rabinovitch
    Tears at the grapes with murderous paws;

    She and the lady in the cape
    Are suspect, thought to be in league;
    Therefore the man with heavy eyes
    Declines the gambit, shows fatigue,

    Leaves the room and reappears
    Outside the window, leaning in,
    Branches of wistaria
    Circumscribe a golden grin;

    The host with someone indistinct
    Converses at the door apart,
    The nightingales are singing near
    The Convent of the Sacred Heart,

    And sang within the bloody wood
    When Agamemnon cried aloud,
    And let their liquid siftings fall
    To stain the stiff dishonoured shroud.