Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell

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

Portrait Of A Barmaid - Poem by Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell

Metallic waves of people jar
Through crackling green toward the bar

Where on the tables chattering-white
The sharp drinks quarrel with the light.

Those coloured muslin blinds the smiles,
Shroud wooden faces in their wiles —

Sometimes they splash like water (you
Yourself reflected in their hue).

The conversation loud and bright
Seems spinal bars of shunting light

In firework-spurting greenery.
O complicate machinery

For building Babel, iron crane
Beneath your hair, that blue-ribbed mane

In noise and murder like the sea
Without its mutability!

Outside the bar where jangling heat
Seems out of tune and off the beat —

A concertina's glycerine
Exudes, and mirrors in the green

Your soul: pure glucose edged with hints
Of tentative and half-soiled tints.

Comments about Portrait Of A Barmaid by Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell

  • Veteran Poet - 1,965 Points Kay Staley (6/3/2015 7:54:00 PM)

    The use of imagery, light rhyme, personification, and description of colors are brilliant in this poem. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 2, 2010

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