The Tea Party

You know, I never set with my back
To a room, said Mrs. Markle. Fac’,
She said. I sort o’ feel, she said,
There might be somethin’ there — not dead
Spirits, she said, but somethin’ alive —
With claws. — So there they sat, the five
Comfortable women around the kettle
Sipping their tea while the cheerful metal
Shone in the sun. — With claws, said she,
And dipped her bread in her cup of tea.
You feel it breathin’ on your neck,
Sniff! Sniff! she said. — And Mrs. Beck
Said Don’t, too loud! — And naked as apes,
Naked and hairy, primeval shapes
Circling a wood-fire, sit the five
Deep in a forest. Thin clouds drive
Dragging across the moon. An oak
Screams in the wind. The wet wood smoke
Blinds. And behind in the rustling dark
Night birds scream terror, baboons bark
And are suddenly silenced — and something creeps,
Creeps from the shadow — huddles — leaps —
La’s sakes, Mrs. Markle, you’re spillin’ your tea,
Said Miss Mapes. What on earth does the woman see!