Edith Sitwell




Two Kitchen Songs

1
The harsh bray and hollow
Of the pot and pan
Seems Midas defying
The great god Apollo!
The leaves’ great golden crowns
Hang on the trees;
The maids in their long gowns
Hunt through these.
Grand’am Garnd’am,
From the pan I am
Flying…country gentlemen
Took flying Psyche for a hen
And aimed at her; then turned a gun
On harmless chicken-me—for fun.
The beggars’ dogs howl all together,
Their tails turn to a ragged feather;
Pools, like mirrors hung in garrets,
Show each face as red as a parrot’s;
Whistling hair that raises ire
In cocks and hens in the kitchen fire!
Every flame shrieks cockle-doo-doo
(With their coxcombs flaring high too);
The witch’s rag-rug takes its flight
Beneath the willows’ watery light:
The wells of water seem a-plume—
The old witch sweeps them with her broom—
All are chasing chicken-me….
But Psyche—where, or where, is she?

2
Gray as a guinea-fowl is the rain
Squawking down from the boughs again.
            ‘Anne, Anne,
             Go fill the pail.’
Said the old witch who sat on the rail,
‘Though there is a hole in the bucket,
Anne, Anne,
It will fill my pocket;
The water-drops when they cross my doors
Will turn to guineas and gold moidores….’
The well-water hops across the floors;
Whimpering, ‘Anne,’ it cries, implores;
And the guinea-fowl-plumaged rain,
Squawking down from the boughs again,
Cried, ‘Anne, Anne, go fill the bucket,
There is a hole in the witch’s pocket—
And the water-drops like gold moidores,
Obedient girl, will surely be yours.
So, Anne, Anne,
Go fill the pail
Of the old witch who sits on the rail!’