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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson’s sonnets for his dissertation at Amerika Institut of LMU Munich, where also he edits a poetry weekly. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor of Review of International American Studies.

20150104

Mr. Eliot's Sunday Morning Service

by T. S. Eliot

Look, look, master, here comes two religious caterpillars.

                                                              The Jew of Malta.  

Polyphiloprogenitive

The sapient sutlers of the Lord
Drift across the window-panes.
In the beginning was the Word.

In the beginning was the Word.      

Superfetation of τό ἔν,
And at the mensual turn of time
Produced enervate Origen.

A painter of the Umbrian school

Designed upon a gesso ground      
The nimbus of the Baptized God.
The wilderness is cracked and browned

But through the water pale and thin

Still shine the unoffending feet
And there above the painter set    
The Father and the Paraclete.
.    .    .    .    .    .
The sable presbyters approach
The avenue of penitence;
The young are red and pustular
Clutching piaculative pence.      

Under the penitential gates

Sustained by staring Seraphim
Where the souls of the devout
Burn invisible and dim.

Along the garden-wall the bees      

With hairy bellies pass between
The staminate and pistilate,
Blest office of the epicene.

Sweeney shifts from ham to ham

Stirring the water in his bath.      
The masters of the subtle schools
Are controversial, polymath.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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