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Best Famous Dame Edith Sitwell Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Dame Edith Sitwell poems. This is a select list of the best famous Dame Edith Sitwell poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Dame Edith Sitwell poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Dame Edith Sitwell poems.

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by Dame Edith Sitwell |

Came the Great Popinjay

 CAME the great Popinjay 
Smelling his nosegay: 
In cages like grots 
The birds sang gavottes. 
'Herodiade's flea 
Was named sweet Amanda, 
She danced like a lady 
From here to Uganda. 
Oh, what a dance was there! 
Long-haired, the candle 
Salome-like tossed her hair 
To a dance tune by Handel.' . . . 
Dance they still? Then came 
Courtier Death, 
Blew out the candle flame 
With civet breath.

by Dame Edith Sitwell |

The Fan

 LOVELY Semiramis 
Closes her slanting eyes: 
Dead is she long ago. 
From her fan, sliding slow, 
Parrot-bright fire's feathers, 
Gilded as June weathers, 
Plumes bright and shrill as grass 
Twinkle down; as they pass 
Through the green glooms in Hell 
Fruits with a tuneful smell, 
Grapes like an emerald rain, 
Where the full moon has lain, 
Greengages bright as grass, 
Melons as cold as glass, 
Piled on each gilded booth, 
Feel their cheeks growing smooth. 
Apes in plumed head-dresses 
Whence the bright heat hisses,-- 
Nubian faces, sly 
Pursing mouth, slanting eye, 
Feel the Arabian 
Winds floating from the fan.

by Dame Edith Sitwell |

Clowns Houses

 BENEATH the flat and paper sky 
The sun, a demon's eye, 
Glowed through the air, that mask of glass; 
All wand'ring sounds that pass

Seemed out of tune, as if the light 
Were fiddle-strings pulled tight. 
The market-square with spire and bell 
Clanged out the hour in Hell;

The busy chatter of the heat 
Shrilled like a parakeet; 
And shuddering at the noonday light 
The dust lay dead and white

As powder on a mummy's face, 
Or fawned with simian grace 
Round booths with many a hard bright toy 
And wooden brittle joy:

The cap and bells of Time the Clown 
That, jangling, whistled down 
Young cherubs hidden in the guise 
Of every bird that flies;

And star-bright masks for youth to wear, 
Lest any dream that fare 
--Bright pilgrim--past our ken, should see 
Hints of Reality.

Upon the sharp-set grass, shrill-green, 
Tall trees like rattles lean, 
And jangle sharp and dissily; 
But when night falls they sign

Till Pierrot moon steals slyly in, 
His face more white than sin, 
Black-masked, and with cool touch lays bare 
Each cherry, plum, and pear.

Then underneath the veiled eyes 
Of houses, darkness lies-- 
Tall houses; like a hopeless prayer 
They cleave the sly dumb air.

Blind are those houses, paper-thin 
Old shadows hid therein, 
With sly and crazy movements creep 
Like marionettes, and weep.

Tall windows show Infinity; 
And, hard reality, 
The candles weep and pry and dance 
Like lives mocked at by Chance.

The rooms are vast as Sleep within; 
When once I ventured in, 
Chill Silence, like a surging sea, 
Slowly enveloped me.

by Dame Edith Sitwell |

Bells Of Gray Crystal

 Bells of gray crystal
Break on each bough--
The swans' breath will mist all
The cold airs now.
Like tall pagodas
Two people go,
Trail their long codas
Of talk through the snow.
Lonely are these
And lonely and I ....
The clouds, gray Chinese geese
Sleek through the sky.

by Dame Edith Sitwell |

Four in the Morning

 Cried the navy-blue ghost
Of Mr. Belaker
The allegro Negro cocktail-shaker,
"Why did the cock crow,
Why am I lost,
Down the endless road to Infinity toss'd?
The tropical leaves are whispering white
As water; I race the wind in my flight.
The white lace houses are carried away
By the tide; far out they float and sway.
White is the nursemaid on the parade.
Is she real, as she flirts with me unafraid?
I raced through the leaves as white as water...
Ghostly, flowed over the nursemaid, caught her,
Left her...edging the far-off sand
Is the foam of the sirens' Metropole and Grand;
And along the parade I am blown and lost,
Down the endless road to Infinity toss'd.
The guinea-fowl-plumaged houses sleep...
On one, I saw the lone grass weep,
Where only the whimpering greyhound wind
Chased me, raced me, for what it could find."
And there in the black and furry boughs
How slowly, coldly, old Time grows,
Where the pigeons smelling of gingerbread,
And the spectacled owls so deeply read,
And the sweet ring-doves of curded milk
Watch the Infanta's gown of silk
In the ghost-room tall where the governante
Gesticulates lente and walks andante.
'Madam, Princesses must be obedient;
For a medicine now becomes expedient--
Of five ingredients--a diapente,
Said the governante, fading lente...
In at the window then looked he,
The navy-blue ghost of Mr. Belaker,
The allegro Negro cocktail-shaker--
And his flattened face like the moon saw she--
Rhinoceros-black (a flowing sea!).

by Dame Edith Sitwell |

Bells Of Gray Crystal

 Bells of gray crystal
Break on each bough--
The swans' breath will mist all
The cold airs now.
Like tall pagodas
Two people go,
Trail their long codas
Of talk through the snow.
Lonely are these
And lonely and I ....
The clouds, gray Chinese geese
Sleek through the sky.

by Dame Edith Sitwell |

When Cold December

 WHEN cold December 
Froze to grisamber 
The jangling bells on the sweet rose-trees-- 
Then fading slow 
And furred is the snow 
As the almond's sweet husk-- 
And smelling like musk. 
The snow amygdaline 
Under the eglantine 
Where the bristling stars shine 
Like a gilt porcupine-- 
The snow confesses 
The little Princesses 
On their small chioppines 
Dance under the orpines. 
See the casuistries 
Of their slant fluttering eyes-- 
Gilt as the zodiac 
(Dancing Herodiac). 
Only the snow slides 
Like gilded myrrh-- 
From the rose-branches--hides 
Rose-roots that stir.

by Dame Edith Sitwell |

Still Falls the Rain

 Still falls the Rain---
Dark as the world of man, black as our loss---
Blind as the nineteen hundred and forty nails
Upon the Cross.

Still falls the Rain
With a sound like the pulse of the heart that is changed to the hammer-beat
In the Potter's Field, and the sound of the impious feet

On the Tomb:
Still falls the Rain

In the Field of Blood where the small hopes breed and the human brain
Nurtures its greed, that worm with the brow of Cain.

Still falls the Rain
At the feet of the Starved Man hung upon the Cross.
Christ that each day, each night, nails there, have mercy on us---
On Dives and on Lazarus:
Under the Rain the sore and the gold are as one.

Still falls the Rain---
Still falls the Blood from the Starved Man's wounded Side:
He bears in His Heart all wounds,---those of the light that died,
The last faint spark
In the self-murdered heart, the wounds of the sad uncomprehending dark,
The wounds of the baited bear---
The blind and weeping bear whom the keepers beat
On his helpless flesh... the tears of the hunted hare.

Still falls the Rain---
Then--- O Ile leape up to my God: who pulles me doune---
See, see where Christ's blood streames in the firmament:
It flows from the Brow we nailed upon the tree

Deep to the dying, to the thirsting heart
That holds the fires of the world,---dark-smirched with pain
As Caesar's laurel crown.

Then sounds the voice of One who like the heart of man
Was once a child who among beasts has lain---
"Still do I love, still shed my innocent light, my Blood, for thee."