WEBSTER was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin;
And breastless creatures under ground
Leaned backward with a lipless grin.

Daffodil bulbs instead of balls
Stared from the sockets of the eyes!
He knew that thought clings round dead limbs
Tightening its lusts and luxuries.

Donne, I suppose, was such another
Who found no substitute for sense,
To seize and clutch and penetrate;
Expert beyond experience,

He knew the anguish of the marrow
The ague of the skeleton;
No contact possible to flesh
Allayed the fever of the bone.
. . . . .
Grishkin is nice: her Russian eye
Is underlined for emphasis;
Uncorseted, her friendly bust
Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.

The couched Brazilian jaguar
Compels the scampering marmoset
With subtle effluence of cat;
Grishkin has a maisonette;

The sleek Brazilian jaguar
Does not in its arboreal gloom
Distil so rank a feline smell
As Grishkin in a drawing-room.

And even the Abstract Entities
Circumambulate her charm;
But our lot crawls between dry ribs
To keep our metaphysics warm.

Analysis, meaning and summary of T.S. Eliot's poem Whispers of Immortality


  1. lee says:

    it talks about the deavil when it says “breastless creatures under ground Leaned backward with a lipless grin”

  2. Mickey says:

    I like how the poem is put together how he talks about death or hell but i didnt like the way he ended it with the jaguar that made no cense. But other then that it was an awsome poem.

  3. Grishkin says:

    A fever of sexual repression and self-loathing dressed up as cultural commentary. Guaranteed to appeal to adolescents, and catchy to boot.

  4. wally says:

    this poem makes no sense, why is he talking about a the ballet dancer that he meet in london and what he trying to tell through this poem.

  5. Sarah says:

    I like the poem. although it is very vintage. it holds a lot of meaning. I think it can be biblical. Because it talks about limbo aka. hell, and the devil ( Breastless Creatures Underground leaned back toward a lipless grin”) which makes sense since some of his other poems are like that.

  6. Chad Lewis says:

    this poem was awesome. i really like the way that it was put together. Thanks for all the help. YOu helped me with a big project.

  7. dylsie says:

    this poem makes no sense…

    • B says:

      you wrote this before I was born. But let me explain. perhaps you will see it. This poem is about mortality. How death pervades all, even in the midst of life death is ever present. it is about the duality of the human existence, and prompts us to face the reality that we all live only to die. It is about sex and death. It is about how in the face of death everything of physical sustenance falls away and all we are left with are complex emotions. Eliot references Webster and Donne. Webster was a tragedian, and Donne a metaphysical poet hence the reference.

  8. kurio says:

    The line from the first stanza, “The Skull beneath the Skin” is also the title of a crime fiction novel, by PD James. This is immediately conveyed through the epigraph, which acts as a preface to the responder.

  9. Sonia says:

    Whispers of immortality by T.S.Eliot and also, Burkbank with a baedequer

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