Edith Sitwell, 1887-1964

Beside the smooth black marble tree
You and I drift aimlessly.

Each blade of grass springs pale, alone,
Tuneless as a quartertone ...

Remote your face seems, far away
Beneath the ghostly water, Day,

That laps across you, as again
We move across the endless plain.

We are two ghosts to-day, each ghost
For ever wandering and lost;

No yesterday and no to-morrow
Know we, neither joy and sorrow,

For this is the hour when like a swan
The silence floats, so still and wan

That bird-songs, silver masks to hide,
Strange faces now all sound have died,

Find but a curdled sheepskin flower
Embodied in this ghostly hour.

This poem from 'Collected Poems - Edith Sitwell' is reprinted here by kind permission of, and with thanks to, Peters Fraser & Dunlop on behalf of the Estate of Edith Sitwell and her great nephew and literary executor William Sitwell - www.williamsitwell.com.