At the first turning of the second stair Turned and saw below The same shape twisted on the banister Under the vapour in the fetid air Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears The deceitful face of hope and of despair. At the second turning of the second stair I left them twisting, turning below; There were no more faces and the stair was dark, Damp, jaggèd, like an old man’s mouth drivelling, beyond repair, Or the toothed gullet of an agèd shark. At the first turning of the third stair Was a slotted window bellied like the figs’s fruit And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute. Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown, Lilac and brown hair; Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind over the third stair, Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair Climbing the third stair. Lord, I am not worthy Lord, I am not worthy but speak the word only.