...the torch-bearers, advancing from behind the throne which King Artaphernes had just vacated, progressed two by two into the centre of the hall. To the shrill piping of the quowhombom and the muffled rattle of the bass trpaxli mingled with the plaintive wail of the thirty captive kings, they circled thrice forwards and thrice backwards, clockwise and counterclockwise, according to the sacred ritual of the rpat, and finally when the signal was given by the pswhadi or high priest, they turned a flip flop somersault and disappeared down their own throats, leaving the assembly in darkness.

T S Eliot to Conrad Aiken, Aug 21, 1916

November 16, 2003 in Eliot, Turn/step back/somersault | Permalink