Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DEATH IN THE KITCHEN, by THOMAS HOOD



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

DEATH IN THE KITCHEN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Trim, thou art right! - 'tis sure that I
Last Line: A charnel full of bones!
Subject(s): Cooking & Cooks; Cookery


TRIM, thou art right! -- 'Tis sure that I,
And all who hear thee, are to die.
The stoutest lad and wench
Must lose their places at the will
Of Death, and go at last to fill
The sexton's gloomy trench.

The dreary grave! -- O, when I think
How close we stand upon its brink,
My inward spirit groans!
My eyes are filled with dismal dreams
Of coffins, and this kitchen seems
A charnel full of bones!

Yes, jovial butler, thou must fail,
As sinks the froth on thine own ale;
Thy days will soon be done!
Alas! the common hours that strike,
Are knells, for life keeps wasting, like
A cask upon the run.

Ay, hapless scullion! 'tis thy case,
Life travels at a scouring pace,
Far swifter than thy hand.
The fast-decaying frame of man
Is but a kettle or a pan
Time wears away with -- sand!

Thou needst not, mistress cook! be told,
The meat to-morrow will be cold
That now is fresh and hot:
E'en thus our flesh will, by and by,
Be cold as stone: -- Cook, thou must die
There's death within the pot.

Susannah, too, my lady's maid,
Thy pretty person once must aid
To swell the buried swarm!
The "glass of fashion" thou wilt hold
No more, but grovel in the mould,
That's not the "mould of form!"

Yes, Jonathan, that drives the coach,
He too will feel the fiend's approach --
The grave will pluck him down:
He must in dust and ashes lie,
And wear the churchyard livery,
Grass green, turn'd up with brown.

How frail is our uncertain breath!
The laundress seems full hale, but Death
Shall her "last linen" bring.
The groom will die, like all his kind;
And e'en the stable boy will find
This life no stable thing.

Nay, see the household dog -- even that
The earth shall take; -- the very cat
Will share the common fall;
Although she hold (the proverb saith)
A ninefold life, one single death
Suffices for them all!

Cook, butler, Susan, Jonathan,
The girl that scours the pot and pan,
And those that tend the steeds --
All, all shall have another sort
Of service after this; -- in short --
The one the parson reads!

The dreary grave! -- O, when I think
How close we stand upon its brink,
My inward spirit groans!
My eyes are filled with dismal dreams
Of coffins, and this kitchen seems
A charnel full of bones!





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