The Ivory Piece
A fragment of verse
Carelessly coiffed, with sash half slipping down
Cravat mis-tied, and tassels left to stream,
I walked haphazard through the early town,
Teased with the memory of a charming dream.
I recollected a great room. The day,
Half dead, lit faintly on the walls the pale
And sudden eyes that showed the formal play
Of woven actors in some curious tale.
In fabulous gardens, where romantic trees
Perched on the branches birds without a name.
¶ 1898. Written in January 1898, shortly before
his last illness, this draft of a poemof which both theme
and context remain tantalisingly obscuregives an intriguing
glimpse into the elliptic flights of Beardsleys imagination.