"En famille"
di Edith Sitwell (1887-1964)

In the early springtime after their tea,
Through the young fields of the
springing Bohea,
Jemima, Jocasta, Dina and Deb
Walked with their father
Sir Joshua Jebb -
An admiral red, whose only notion,
(A butterfly poised on a pigtailed ocean)
Is of the peruked sea whose swell
Breaks on the flowerless rocks of Hell.
Under the thin trees,
Deb and Dinah,
Jemima, Jocasta, walked, and finer
Their black hair seemed (flat-sleek to see)
Than the young leaves of the
springing Bohea;
Their cheeks were like
nutmeg-flowers when swells
The rain into foolish silver bells.
They said, "If the door you would
only slam,
Or if, Papa, you would once say "Damn" -
Instead of merely roaring "Avast"
Or boldly invoking the nautical Blast -
We should now stand
in the street of Hell
Watching siesta shutters that fell
With a noise like amber softly sliding;
Our moon-like glances through
these gliding
Would see at her table preened and set
Myrrhina sitting at her toilette
With eyelids closed as soft
as the breeze
That flows from gold flowers
on the incense-trees.
The Admiral said,
"You could never call -
I assure you it would not do at all!
She gets down from table
without saying "Please",
Forgets her prayers and to cross her Ts,
In short, her scandalous reputation
Has shocked the whole of the
Hellish nation;
And every turbaned Chinoiserie,
With whom we should sip
our black Bohea,
Would stretch out her simian
fingers thin
To scratch you, my dears, like a
For Hell is just as properly proper
As Greenwich, or as, Bath, or Joppa!"