On the 9th of December 1964, the innovative and inspiring poet and writer, Edith Sitwell, died. Then all was over, "bar the shouting and the worms" as she said in her autobiography. She was 77 years old. Amazingly earlier that same year she had been to Australia creating a huge stir. She was still a force to be reckoned with. However, in more recent times her brilliance has all but lost its lustre.
I do believe now is the time for her renaissance and for her to take her rightful place in the canon of literature. Richard's Greene fabulously complete biography, "Edith Sitwell, Avant Garde Poet, English Genius" was a good start. But Edith Sitwell - fascinating woman, great writer and generous editor - should be trumpeted more. For those of you who are good at maths, you will have realised that 2014 is fifty years since her death, perhaps we can all make this the Edith Sitwell year, just as we have had the celebrations around Dickens in 2012. I do hope especially that Scarborough, North Yorkshire, the town of her birth, and where I now live, will take the lead.
Meanwhile, here is my modest tribute:
Once we moved through hazes,
warm and golden,
Dagobert and I;
caught in a tapestry of silken threaded creatures -
birds with custard tails,
unicorns and lions with torn faces
parrots with stuffing for a soul,
dead but riveted
to our progress in rose gardens by the sea.
And silly girls laughed
to have their hats picked by the wind
and rescued by men twice their age.
Colonel Fantock and Peregrine
are gone now,
Replaced by over-done trippers
dreaming of Spain,
and I am the lost ghost
I always imagined myself to be.