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Revealed - the poetic ardour of TS Eliot, and Wayne Rooney

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The hitherto unsuspected poetic ardour of TS Eliot – and of Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney as well – has been revealed in separate stories this week.

The Guardian reports that newly-found poems by Eliot include these lines: “I love a tall girl. When she sits on my knee/ She with nothing on, and I with nothing on/ I can just take her nipple in my lips/ And stroke it with my tongue.”

The poem, ‘How the Tall Girl and I Play Together’, is one of three that were discovered in notebooks handwritten for his second wife, Valerie, who had been his secretary. The couple married in 1957 when he was 68 and she was 30.

Valerie, who was 5ft 8in, kept control of his estate until her death three years ago when the notebooks came to light. In another poem, Eliot celebrates the “miracle of sleeping together” as he “touch[es] the delicate down beneath her navel”. The newly found poems mark a fresh edition of Eliot’s work, published by Faber in November and edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue.

Meanwhile it has also been revealed that star footballer Wayne Rooney wooed his wife Coleen by writing love poetry for her. Rooney said: “I used to love writing poems, even before I was with Coleen. I don’t know why, I used to like to write little stories too. So when I first got with Coleen I used to write her lots of poems. They have died down a bit of late.”

However, in the BBC programme, ‘Wayne Rooney – The Man Behind the Goals’, Coleen said that the muse still occasionally visits her man. “Recently we went on holiday. I went to bed with the kids and when I got up the next morning there was a poem on the side which he left me that was nice. I’ve got a collection somewhere.”

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Greg Freeman

Fri 2nd Oct 2015 10:34

Magnificent, Julian ... as was Rooney's goal on that occasion, of course. Albert Camus used to play in goal ... but did TS Eliot ever perform such an overhead kick? I think not. Or have I strayed off the point ... ?

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Julian (Admin)

Fri 2nd Oct 2015 10:29

His goal against Manchester City in Feb 2011 was described by the commentator as absolute poetry:

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Absolute poetry

If, according to the commentator,
Rooney’s overhead kick
was absolute poetry,
in what sense was that?
Probably less that of Aristotle’s poetics,
though some would consider it epic.
Not the later formalists.
Perhaps in the mid 20th century sense,
as a fundamental creative act,
though use of language was considered essential.

The language of football,
or gymnastics.
After all, he had flung himself,
assonance over tetrameter.
There was
euphony and rhythm.
Sprung rhythm, to boot,
and had an incantatory effect
on all who witnessed it.
Particularly Jo Hart.

Perhaps it was in the sense
of Tatarkiewicz’s second concept of poetry,
that of expressing emotion.
Rooney’s increasingly,
until that day, edging towards
the nihilism.

As Valéry observed,
poetry has a more general meaning,
one difficult to define:
an expression of a state of mind.

The word
derives from the ancient Greek
poiesis: to create.
Art was, to them,
a following of rules
and of form,
except for poetry,
the only art
allowed to create something out of nothing,
like Rooney’s kick.

If this is going over anyone’s head,
well, good:
According to the commentator,
that would make it
absolute poetry!

Julian Jordon

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