III

At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitful face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was
dark,
Damp, jaggèd, like an old man's mouth drivelling,
beyond repair,
Or the toothed gullet of an agèd shark.

At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the fig's fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture
scene
The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth
blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of
the mind over the third stair,

-14-

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Ash-Wednesday
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • I 9
  • II 11
  • III 14
  • IV 16
  • V 18
  • VI 20
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