Friday Poems: Excerpt from XX of “The Sleeping Beauty” by Edith Sitwell

For our first Friday together, I thought I would share a poem by an English poet who is not well-known this side of the Atlantic. Edith Sitwell is most famous for her poem Facade, which was set to music by British composer William Walton, and, I think, perfectly evokes the mood of the 1920s. Here is the opening from a poem from another collection, Sleeping Beauty, which I chose because I think she’s captured perfectly the noon heat of the kind of hot day we are all experiencing right now. The photo is of muscadine:

In the hot noon–like glowing muscadinemuscadine

The light seems, and the shade like golden wine–


Beneath the deep shade of the trees’ arcade

All foppish in his dressing-gown’s brocade


And turban, comes the great Magnifico,

And hearkens not where the becafico


Time taps at the lovely sylvan trees.

Now underneath the shadows fallen from these


The queen sits with her court, and through the glade

The light from their silks casts another silver shade…




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