Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Fair, World-Like

—Anonymous Photo

—Edith Sitwell (from Coterie, 1919)

    I. Springing Jack

Green wooden leaves clap light away,
Severely practical, as they

Shelter the children candy-pale,
The chestnut candles flicker, fail . . .

The showman’s face is cubed clear as
The shapes reflected in a glass

Of water—(blog, glut, a ghost’s speech
Fumbling for space from each to each).

The fusty showman fumbles, must
Fit in a particle of dust

The universe, for fear it gain
Its freedom from my cube of brain.

Yet dust bears seeds that grow to grace
Behind my crude-striped wooden face

As I, a puppet tinsel-pink
Leap on my springs, learn how to think—

Till like the trembling golden stalk
Of some long-petalled star, I walk

Through the dark heavens, and the dew
Falls on my eyes and sense thrills through.

    II.  The Ape Watches “Aunt Sally”

The apples are an angel’s meat;
The shining dark leaves make clear sweet

The juice; green wooden fruits alway
Fall on these flowers as white as day—

(Clear angel-face on hairy stalk:
Soul grown from flesh, an ape’s young talk!)

And in this green and lovely ground
The Fair, world-like, turns round and round

And bumpkins throw their pence to shed
Aunt Sally’s wooden clear-striped head.—

I do not care if men should throw
Round sun and moon to make me go—

As bright as gold and silver pence . . .
They cannot drive their black shade hence!



For more about Dame Edith Sitwell (1887-1964), see