“Tournez, Tournez, Bon Chevaux De Bois”

By Edith Sitwell 1887–1964 Edith Sitwell
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—
Wrinkled Methusalem!
From our floating hair
Derived the first fair
And queer inspiration
Of music, the nation
Of bright-plumed trees
And harpy-shrill breeze . . .
     *  *  *  *
Turn, turn again,
Ape’s blood in each vein!

from Coterie, 1919

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Poet Edith Sitwell 1887–1964

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Couplet

 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 Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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