Thursday, January 31, 2008

Edith Sitwell

As a child, I remember seeing her name on books, along with those of her brothers Sacheverel and Osbert, but I didn't read them.
Today we listened to a CD of English songs, and some of the songs have words by Edith Sitwell. They're playful and witty, and have whetted my appetite to find more about her, and the rest of the family.

Madam Mouse trots,
Gray in the black night!
Madam Mouse trots:
Furred is the light.
The elephant-trunks
Trumpet from the sea....
Gray in the black night
The mouse trots free.
Hoarse as a dog's bark
The heavy leaves are furled....
The cat's in his cradle,
All's well with the World!

Paul Verlaine's version:

Dame souris trotte
Noire dans le gris du soir ,
Dame souris trotte ,
Grise dans le noir .

On sonne la cloche :
Dormez les bons prisonniers ,
On sonne la cloche ,
Faut que vous dormiez .

Un nuage passe ,
Il fait noir comme en un four ,
Un nuage passe ,
Tiens le petit jour !

Dame souris trotte ,
Rose dans les rayons bleus ,
Dame souris trotte ,
Debout paresseux !

Quite different, but clearly the first two lines inspired her poem.

No comments: