Sedition·com (mature content)
Poems by Christina G. Rossetti

«·BOY JOHNNY. · AN OCTOBER GARDEN.·»

FREAKS OF FASHION.

Such a hubbub in the nests,
  Such a bustle and squeak!
Nestlings, guiltless of a feather,
  Learning just to speak,
Ask–“And how about the fashions?”
  From a cavernous beak.

Perched on bushes, perched on hedges,
  Perched on firm hahas,
Perched on anything that holds them,
  Gay papas and grave mammas
Teach the knowledge-thirsty nestlings:
  Hear the gay papas.

Robin says: “A scarlet waistcoat
  Will be all the wear,
Snug, and also cheerful-looking
  For the frostiest air,
Comfortable for the chest too
  When one comes to plume and pair.”

“Neat gray hoods will be in vogue,”
  Quoth a Jackdaw: “Glossy gray,
Setting close, yet setting easy,
  Nothing fly-away;
Suited to our misty mornings,
  A la negligée.”

Flushing salmon, flushing sulphur,
  Haughty Cockatoos
Answer–“Hoods may do for mornings,
  But for evenings choose
High head-dresses, curved like crescents,
  Such as well-bred persons use.”

“Top-knots, yes; yet more essential
  Still, a train or tail,”
Screamed the Peacock: “Gemmed and lustrous
  Not too stiff, and not too frail;
Those are best which rearrange as
  Fans, and spread or trail.”

Spoke the Swan, entrenched behind
  An inimitable neck:
“After all, there’s nothing sweeter
  For the lawn or lake
Than simple white, if fine and flaky
  And absolutely free from speck.”

“Yellow,” hinted a Canary,
  “Warmer, not less distingué.”
“Peach color,” put in a Lory,
  “Cannot look outré.”
“All the colors are in fashion,
  And are right,” the Parrots say.

“Very well. But do contrast
  Tints harmonious,”
Piped a Blackbird, justly proud
  Of bill aurigerous;
“Half the world may learn a lesson
  As to that from us.”

Then a Stork took up the word:
  “Aim at height and chic:
Not high heels, they’re common; somehow,
  Stilted legs, not thick,
Nor yet thin:” he just glanced downward
  And snapped to his beak.

Here a rustling and a whirring,
  As of fans outspread,
Hinted that mammas felt anxious
  Lest the next thing said
Might prove less than quite judicious,
  Or even underbred.

So a mother Auk resumed
  The broken thread of speech:
“Let colors sort themselves, my dears,
  Yellow, or red, or peach;
The main points, as it seems to me,
  We mothers have to teach,

“Are form and texture, elegance,
  An air reserved, sublime;
The mode of wearing what we wear
  With due regard to month and clime.
But now, let’s all compose ourselves,
  It’s almost breakfast-time.”

A hubbub, a squeak, a bustle!
  Who cares to chatter or sing
With delightful breakfast coming?
  Yet they whisper under the wing:
“So we may wear whatever we like,
  Anything, everything!”

 


«·BOY JOHNNY. · AN OCTOBER GARDEN.·»