Heart and Mind
by Edith Sitwell
October 11th, 2008
Said the Lion to the Lioness - "When you are amber dust -
No more a raging fire like the heat of the Sun
(No liking but all lust) -
Remember still the flowering of the amber blood and bone,
The rippling of bright muscles like a sea,
Remember the rose-prickles of bright paws,
Though we shall mate no more
Till the fire of that sun the heart and the moon-cold bone are one"
Said the Skeleton lying upon the sands of Time -
"The great gold planet that is the mourning heat of the Sun
Is greater than all gold, more powerful
Than the tawny body of a Lion that fire consumes
Like all that grows or leaps... so is the heart
More powerful than all dust. Once I was Hercules
Or Sampson, strong as the pillars of the seas:
But the flames of the heart consumed me, and the mind
Is but a foolish wind."
Said the Sun to the Moon - "When you are but a lonely white crone,
And I, a dead King in my golden armour somewhere in a dark wood,
Remember only this of our hopeless love:
That never till Time is done
Will the fire of the heart and the fire of the mind be one."
"Edith Sitwell was most interested by the distinction between poetry and music, a matter explored in Façade (1922), which was set to music by William Walton, a series of abstract poems the rhythms of which counterfeited those of music. Façade was performed behind a curtain with a hole in the mouth of a painted face and the words were recited through the hole with the aid of a megaphone."