Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VARIATIONS ON A THEME, by ALFRED GOLDSWORTHY BAILEY

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

VARIATIONS ON A THEME, by                
First Line: If charon drove a hearse along the beach
Last Line: And then be gone?
Subject(s): Charon; Hearses; Seashore; Styx (river); Beach; Coast; Shore

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach."—The
Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

If Charon drove a hearse along the beach
in black unhurrying state
not fearful of arriving here too soon
nor fearful of too late. ...
If it moved up along
would I be prone to sing a Gascon song?
Would I emit. ...
and suitably attired welcome it?

In the gloom of evening
as on the Capitol
the monks were singing
would I concord in song?
while Jupiter ramped down
Olympus' shrieking side.
If it. ... would I. ... about the turn of tide. ...
If it. ... would I. ... accoutred for the day,
would I make ready for a ride
ere this hearse rolled away
along the beach, along
the beach, would I to song
and give my testament, into the hands
of sandy lawyers (who make the beach a brief
for my diffuse inconsequential grief),
concerning purses, mansions, lands,
and doff my cap to let Queen Dido pass,
to give a queen permission,
give the key—
as graciously as was my wont of old—
of cities that have been my care this while?

Would she be pleased to cherish it?
Would she be pleased to smile
and sing a bar or two
and lunch at four?
Would Charon's hearse be waiting at the door
upon the beach with rodents at the wheel,
impatient for the hearse to roll along,
impatient for the meal?
Would I to song
or bleat awhile with my ephemeral queen
and then be gone?

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