Poem: Sweeney Erect
And the trees about me, Let them be dry and leafless; let the rocks Groan with continual surges; and behind me Make all a desolation. Look, look, wenches!
Paint me a cavernous waste shore Cast in the unstilted Cyclades, Paint me the bold anfractuous rocks Faced by the snarled and yelping seas.
Display me Aeolus above Reviewing the insurgent gales Which tangle Ariadne's hair And swell with haste the perjured sails.
Morning stirs the feet and hands (Nausicaa and Polypheme), Gesture of orang-outang Rises from the sheets in steam.
This withered root of knots of hair Slitted below and gashed with eyes, This oval O cropped out with teeth: The sickle motion from the thighs
Jackknifes upward at the knees Then straightens out from heel to hip Pushing the framework of the bed And clawing at the pillow slip.
Sweeney addressed full length to shave Broadbottomed, pink from nape to base, Knows the female temperament And wipes the suds around his face.
(The lengthened shadow of a man Is history, said Emerson Who had not seen the silhouette Of Sweeney straddled in the sun).
Tests the razor on his leg Waiting until the shriek subsides. The epileptic on the bed Curves backward, clutching at her sides.
The ladies of the corridor Find themselves involved, disgraced, Call witness to their principles And deprecate the lack of taste
Observing that hysteria Might easily be misunderstood; Mrs. Turner intimates It does the house no sort of good.
But Doris, towelled from the bath, Enters padding on broad feet, Bringing sal volatile And a glass of brandy neat.