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Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers/Souls and Toes

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SOULS AND TOES


I went to a Soul Fight at Hermione's
And nothing normal can describe it…
It was beyond rhyme, reason, rum, rhubarb or rhythm…
Therefore, Vers Libre Muse, help me!
Imagist outcast with the bleary eyes,
My Psychic Pup, my polyrhythmic hound, lift up your voice and help me howl!
Tenth Muse, doggerel muse, slink hither, brute,
And lick your master's hand… I've need of thee…
Come catercornered on three legs with doubtful tail and eager eyes…
Tomorrow I may bash you in the ribald ribs again
And publicly disown you;
But oh! today I've need of thee…
Wingèd mongrel, mutt divine, come here and help me bay the piebald moon!


It was a Soul Fight at Hermione's…
A fat Terpsichore with polished toes… a barefoot she Soul

With ten Achaian toes… and each toe had a separate Soul, she said…
Was there… there with both feet… both Grecian feet…
Was there… not only there, but IT.


She sat upon a couch and lectured… not with words,
But with her toes, her eloquent, her temperamental toes…
Her toes that had trod (so she said) the paths of beauty
Since Hector was a pup at Troy…
She sat upon a couch… bards, swamis and Hermiones,
Gilt souls and purple, melomaniacs, yellow souls and blue,
Souse socialists and other cognac-scented cognoscenti,
Post-cubist chicles that would ne'er jell into gum…
All, all the little groups from all the brainstorm slums…
Why specify?… we know our little groups!… were there…
Were there to worship at those feet… to vibrate and change color with the moods of those unusual feet…


"This toe," she said, "is Beauty… this is Art…
This toe is Italy, and this is Greece."…
A poet, quite beside himself with inspiration,
Suddenly arose and cried:
"This little pig went to market,
This little pig stayed at home—
This little pig was Greece,
This little pig was Rome!"


But they chilled him… he went Into the Silences…
And Terpsichore resumed:
"My ten toes are: Beauty, Art, Italy, Greece, Life, Music, Psyche, Color, Motion, Liberty!
Put yourself into a receptive attitude now, and Beauty will speak to you!"
And while a satellite ran rosy fingers down a lute, she moved the toe named Beauty to and fro…


A hush fell on the assembled nuts, as Beauty moved…
As Beauty spoke to them…
"I see," murmured Hermione to Fothergil Finch, "I see,
As that toe moves… the Isles of Greece… and Aphrodite rising

From the Acropolis."… "You mean," said Fothergil, "from the Ægean!"…
"It is all one," said Hermione, "the point is that I see her rising!"


Then Color spoke to them…
"As that toe moves," said Ravenswood Wimble, "I see the heavens
Turned into one vast kaleidoscope… all the stars and moons
Dance through my soul like flakes of colored glass!"
Then waved the toe called Life, and as with one accord each of that company
Leapt gasping to his or her feet, as the case might be,
And cried: "I feel! I feel! I feel! I feel the Cosmic Urge!"


Then moved the toe called Italy,
And Fothergil Finch remarked: "Roses… roses… roses…
Onions and roses… roses are onions, and onions are beautiful…
Doves and pigeons… pigeons… pigeons are pigs…
And pigs are beautiful" . . .
And then the serious thinkers cried as one:
"Ah! Pigs are Beautiful!"


"Ah, Italy; oh, Italy!" cried Fothy Finch,
"Oh, never cease to move… Italy… garlic… Venice…
Oh, bind my brows with garlic, lovely land, and turn me loose!"
And as the toe called Italy still moved
The little groups made it into a chant, and sang:
"Oh, bind my brows with garlic, love, and turn me loose!"


* * *


"Hermione," I asked her afterward,
"Did you really see and feel anything when those educated toes wiggled?"
"How can you ask?" she said, very up-stagey.
"Hermione," I said, "we are old enough friends by this time, so we can deal frankly with one another. Tell me on the square… did you get it?"
"You are blaspheming at the shrine of Art!" she said.
"Hermione! You are dodging!"
"Did you notice," she said irrelevantly, "the nail polish she was using?
"It's quite the latest thing! For finger nails, too, you know. That delicate rose pink, with just the touch of creaminess in it! It's the creamy tint that's new, you know. Isn't it just simply wonderful!"