Edith Sitwell


What the Goose-Girl Said About the Dean

Turn again, turn again,
Goose Clothilda, Goosie Jane.

Bright wooden waves of people creak
From houses built with coloured straws
Of heat; Dean Pasppus’ long nose snores
Harsh as a hautbois, marshy-weak.

The wooden waves of people creak
Through the fields all water-sleek.

And in among the straws of light
Those bumpkin hautbois-sounds take flight.

Whence he lies snoring like the moon
Clownish-white all afternoon.

Beneath the trees’ arsenical
Sharp woodwind tunes; heretical —

“Tournez, Tournez, Bon Chevaux De Bois”

Turn, turn again,
Ape’ s blood in each vein!
The people that pass
Seem castles of glass,
The old and the good
Giraffes of the blue wood,
The soldier, the nurse,
Wooden-face and a curse,
Are shadowed with plumage
Like birds, by the gloomage.
Blond hair like a clown’ s
The music floats — drowns
The creaking of ropes,
The breaking of hopes,
The wheezing, the old,
Like harmoniums scold;
Go to Babylon, Rome,
The brain-cells called home,
The grave, new Jerusalem —