March 18, 2008

The Trump of Doom

Strange are the fragments of mental flotsam and jetsam. This morning the word 'trump' surfaced (pretty much unbidden), and I dimly remembered a poem that ended "...Those boy-scouts practising again!", but I couldn't remember where I'd read it, or who was the author... so of course Google came to the rescue. The bit I specifically recalled (so Google tells me) was quoted in the lead-in to a story about Joe McCarthy (and legislative pusillanimity) in Time, 15 February 1954. The whole poem is Edith Sitwell's Solo for Ear-Trumpet, reproduced here (from's Miscellany of Poetry) because it deserves to be better known, and might be meditated upon in these parlous times:


The carriage brushes through the bright
Leaves (violent jets from life to light);
Strong polished speed is plunging, heaves
Between the showers of bright hot leaves
The window-glasses glaze our faces
And jar them to the very basis--
But they could never put a polish
Upon my manners or abolish
My most distinct disinclination
For calling on a rich relation!
In her house--(bulwark built between
The life man lives and visions seen)--
The sunlight hiccups white as chalk,
Grown drunk with emptiness of talk,
And silence hisses like a snake--
Invertebrate and rattling ache....
Then suddenly Eternity
Drowns all the houses like a sea
And down the street the Trump of Doom
Blares madly--shakes the drawing-room
Where raw-edged shadows sting forlorn
As dank dark nettles. Down the horn
Of her ear-trumpet I convey
The news that "It is Judgment Day!"
"Speak louder: I don't catch, my dear."
I roared: "_It is the Trump we hear!_"
"The _What?_" "_THE TRUMP!_" "I shall complain!
.... those boy-scouts practising again."

Posted by oook at March 18, 2008 11:48 AM