Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell

(7 September 1887 - 9 December 1964 / Scarborough, Yorkshire)

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!).

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Bronze Star - 5,477 Points Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (9/7/2014 9:02:00 AM)

    a glimpse of a life long passed during an era most of us will only read about or see in a movie..very picturesque and imaginative..funny how poetry can transport the reader to places and time not experienced by the reader..in real life... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 864 Points Liliana ~el (9/7/2013 6:53:00 PM)

    What? ... I am seriously lost. Someone please help me; I don't actually think I'm dumb.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie P W (9/16/2008 12:31:00 AM)

    Sorry, you can't read this glorious absurdity without Walton's amazing music in the background making magic out of genius. (Report) Reply

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