Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song, Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long. But at my back in a cold blast I hear The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.
“The Fire Sermon,” Part III of
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives, Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea, The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
In “The Fire Sermon,” Part III of
(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all Enacted on this same divan or bed; I who have sat by Thebes below the wall And walked among the lowest of the dead.)
Tiresias observes a rather pathetic sexual encounter between a typist and a clerk and reminds us that he once foretold this encounter. As a hermaphrodite, Tiresias identifies with both parties. In
O City city, I can sometimes hear Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street, The pleasant whining of a mandoline And a clatter and a chatter from within Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls Of Magnus Martyr hold Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold.
In “The Fire Sermon,” Tiresias roams modern London and hears timeless sounds, including music from an ancient instrument and the chatter of fishermen. Magnus Martyr, a church in London, evokes Tiresias’s memory of the Ionian era of ancient Greek history, which took place centuries before Homer wrote about such events in
Who is the third who walks always beside you? When I count, there are only you and I together But when I look ahead up the white road There is always another one walking beside you Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded I do not know whether a man or a woman —But who is that on the other side of you?
In Part V of