Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BUCOLIC COMEDY: THE DOLL, by EDITH SITWELL



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BUCOLIC COMEDY: THE DOLL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If cold grew visible again
Last Line: Play with my doll, though I'm in bed!
Subject(s): Dolls; Toys


IF cold grew visible again,
We should see bell-flowers on the plain

With shivering stalks, as white as kings
In trembling ermine. Each one rings

A little tune for vespers, matins,
Beneath the polar sky's red satins;

(The cold is but the shivering
Of the white flower-bells as they ring.)

And Madame A . . . the elegante,
With Madame X, the elephant,

Walked down the lengthy avenue
Carrying their missals; and they knew

The point-lace hanging from the trees
Delicately laughed at these,

Knowing they'd find no angels there
With their apple-curling hair

Because the angels pulled the lapel
Of the priest's robe, left the chapel,

And with my doll and me in Heaven
Hear the nursery clock strike seven.

The angels and myself, between us,
We break their doll, the lady Venus,

Who's curls seem petalled orange-flowers
From Heaven's tree (those perfumed showers

Fall like soft music in the mind).
Seeing my doll they are unkind

To all their toys; they break with joy
The bird-soft bricks that builded Troy --

Laugh at the thought that it could matter.
The angels' feet like bird-feet patter

Across the floor; they leave their needle
Sticking in their samplers, wheedle

Me to let them wash my daughter
Until her face is clear as water,

Her curls like bell-flowers one can see
At Easter, jangling on a tree.

* * * * *

But nurse is wandering on the plain,
'Midst cold grown visible again;

She looks for me, and as she walks
On toes the cold has turned to stalks,

'Mid shrill steel grasses that dissemble
The cold (bell-flowers that jangle, tremble,)

The angels nod their small heads, say
"It's time we were in bed, stopped play" . . .

Yet still the angels overhead
Play with my doll, though I'm in bed!





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