Struck dumb by love among the walruses And whales, the off-white polar bear with stuffing Missing, the mastodons like muddy buses, I sniff the mothproof air and lack for nothing. A general grant enabled the erection, Brick upon brick, of this amazing building. Today, in spite of natural selection, It still survives an orphan age of gilding. Unvarnished floors tickle the nose with dust Sweeter than any girls' gymnasium's; Stove polish dulls the cast-iron catwalk's rust; The soot outside would make rival museums Blanch to the lintels. So would the collection. A taxidermist has gone ape. The cases Bulging with birds whose differences defy detection Under the dirt are legion. Master races Of beetles lie extinguished in glass tables: Stag, deathwatch, ox, dung, diving, darkling, May. Over the Kelmscott lettering of their labels, Skeleton crews of sharks mark time all day. Mark time: thesegroaningboards thatstageda feast Of love for art and science, since divorced, Still scantily support the perishing least Bittern and all his kin. Days, do your worst: No more of you can come between me and This place from which I issue and which I Grow old along with, an unpromised land Of all unpromising things that live and die. This brick ark packed with variant animals -- All dead -- by some progressive-party member Steams on to nowhere, all the manuals Of its calliope untouched, toward December. Struck dumb by love among the walruses
And whales, the off-white polar bear with stuffing
Missing, the mastodons like muddy buses,
I sniff the mothproof air and lack for nothing.