On Having the Backache

My back is like a kind of harp
Where withered fingers play a tune,
Or like a picture done by Arp,
With twinge-trees and an aching moon;
The pain in it is sometimes sharp,
And sometimes rounded, like a spoon,
And sometimes like a cushion, soft,
But bulging glumly in my back.
It stirred this morning as I coughed,
Like dying Gilda in her sack,
Or like a walrus in the loft,
That heaves and wobbles, huge and black.
My back is like a barbican
Battered by some prodigious gun
According to a Protean plan.
I need to wallow in the sun,
The kind of sun they keep at Cannes
And rarely send to Paddington.
My back is like a kind of flute
Where withered fingers play a dirge;
And when I stoop to tie my boot
Some atrabilious demiurge
Utters a Pandemoniac hoot
And bops me with his knotted scourge,
I wish that I could hire a dray,
A tumbrel, or a massive wain,
And seven fellows whom my pay
Would tempt to lift my heavy pain
And haul it skillfully away
And never haul it back again.