By Candlelight

By Edith Sitwell 1887–1964 Edith Sitwell
Houses red as flower of bean,
Flickering leaves and shadows lean!
Pantalone, like a parrot,
Sat and grumbled in the garret—
Sat and growled and grumbled till
Moon upon the window-sill
Like a red geranium
Scented his bald cranium.
Said Brighella, meaning well:
“Pack your box and—go to Hell!
Heat will cure your rheumatism!” . . .
Silence crowned this optimism—
Not a sound and not a wail:
But the fire (lush leafy vales)
Watched the angry feathers fly.
Pantalone ’gan to cry—
Could not, would not, pack his box!
Shadows (curtseying hens and cocks)
Pecking in the attic gloom
Tried to smother his tail-plume . . .
Till a cockscomb candle-flame
Crowing loudly, died: Dawn came.

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Poet Edith Sitwell 1887–1964

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Relationships, Pets, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

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 Relationships, Pets, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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