What the Goose-Girl Said About the Dean

By Edith Sitwell 1887–1964 Edith Sitwell
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—

Blown like the wind’s mane
(Creaking woodenly again).

His wandering thoughts escape like geese
Till he, their gooseherd, sets up chase,
And clouds of wool join the bright race
For scattered old simplicities.

from Coterie, 1919

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Poet Edith Sitwell 1887–1964

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Relationships, Pets, Nature, Animals, The Body

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Edith  Sitwell

Biography

In the introduction to The Canticle of the Rose British poet Dame Edith Sitwell wrote: "At the time I began to write, a change in the direction, imagery and rhythms in poetry had become necessary, owing to the rhythmical flaccidity, the verbal deadness, the dead and expected patterns, of some of the poetry immediately preceding us." Her early work was often experimental, creating melody, using striking conceits, new rhythms, and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Pets, Nature, Animals, The Body

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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