According to their need,/ this tall Negro evangelist/ (at a table separate from the/rest of his party):/these two young Irish nuns/ (to be described subsequently);/and this white- haired Angelican/ have come witlessly/ to partake of the host/ laid before them (and for me)/by the tired waitress.
It is all/( since eat we must)/most sacred by our common need./The evangelists assistants/are most open in their praise/though covert/as would be seemly/in such a public/place. The nuns/ are all black,a side view./ The cleric,/his head bowed to reveal/his unruly poll/dines alone.
My eyes are restless./ The evangelists eat well,/fried oysters and what-not/at this railway restaurant. The Sisters/ are soon satisfied. One/on leaving,/ looking straight before her under steadfast brows,/reveals/ blue eyes. I myself/have brown eyes/and a milder mouth.
There is nothing to eat,/seek it where you will,/but the body of the Lord./The blessed plants/ and the sea, yield it/to the imagination/intact. And by that force/ it becomes real,/bitterly/ to the poor animals/who suffer and die/that we may live.
The well-fed evangels,/the narrow-lipped and bright-eyed nuns,/ the tall,/ white-haired Anglican,/proclaim it by their appetites/as do I also,/ chomping with my worn-out teeth:/the Lord is my shepherd/ I shall not want.
No matter how well they are fed,/how daintily/ they put the food to their lips,/ it is all / according to the imagination!/Only the imagination/ is real! They have imagined it, / therefore it is so: /of the evangels,/with the long legs characteristic of the race-/only the docile women/of the party smiled at me/when with my eyes/ I accosted them . /The nuns-but after all/I saw only a face, a young face/cut off at the brows./It was a simple story./The cleric, plainly/from a good school,/interested me more,/a man with whom I might/carry on a conversation.
No one was there/save only for / the food. Which I alone,/being a poet,/could have given them./But I /had only my eyes with which to speak.
William Carlos Williams