Conrad Potter Aiken

(5 August 1889 – 17 August 1973 / Savannah, Georgia)

Shaemus - Poem by Conrad Potter Aiken

We will go no more to Shaemus, at the Nip,
for sly innuendo and an Oporto Flip,
the rough but tender voice, the wide-mouthed grin,
the steady-unsteady hand that poured the gin:


memory, that flew back years to find a name,
found it, and fetched it up, still just the same;
the shaky footsteps, and then the shaky kidding:
you, the big business man, outbid, outbidding,


the mystery man, the man of deep affairs,
highbrow, and playboy, and friend of millionaires:
and you, the lovers, whose love was in your faces—
there you were, back once more—and still the traces!—


Yes, still the traces of that love he loved,
and re-examined, but as if unmoved;
the names fished up from time, or Singapore,
joined and repeated on his bar once more;


as if no let or hindrance were permitted;
as if both time and space could be outwitted;
endurance noted—in a protocol—
and then embalmed, of course, in alcohol.


And now himself, the immortal, lightly gone,
as if stepped out for a quick one—who had none.
And dead, his room inspected by his friends,
to find a will, adjust the odds and ends;


and there, the fifteen suits, the malacca cane,
the hats, and spats: in which he roved again,
far from the furnished room, the sacred bar,
immortal dandy, towards an immortal star.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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