Aunt Helen

By T. S. Eliot 1888–1965

Miss Helen Slingsby was my maiden aunt,
And lived in a small house near a fashionable square
Cared for by servants to the number of four.
Now when she died there was silence in heaven
And silence at her end of the street.
The shutters were drawn and the undertaker wiped his feet —
He was aware that this sort of thing had occurred before.
The dogs were handsomely provided for,
But shortly afterwards the parrot died too.
The Dresden clock continued ticking on the mantelpiece,
And the footman sat upon the dining-table
Holding the second housemaid on his knees —
Who had always been so careful while her mistress lived.

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Poet T. S. Eliot 1888–1965

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Living, Social Commentaries, Marriage & Companionship, Time & Brevity, Class, Relationships, Money & Economics, Men & Women, Death

Poetic Terms Mixed

 T. S. Eliot

Biography

When T. S. Eliot died, wrote Robert Giroux, "the world became a lesser place." Certainly the most imposing poet of his time, Eliot was revered by Igor Stravinsky "not only as a great sorcerer of words but as the very key keeper of the language." For Alfred Kazin he was "the mana known as 'T. S. Eliot,' the model poet of our time, the most cited poet and incarnation of literary correctness in the English-speaking world." Northrop . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Social Commentaries, Marriage & Companionship, Time & Brevity, Class, Relationships, Money & Economics, Men & Women, Death

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Mixed

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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