gimme the noon-light gimme a twirl I’ll come up trumps my banner unfurl that Edith was mad yet made us all glad with Beelzebub’s story all hunky-dory to consider her metre ashes and saltpetre anything dare her nonsensical verse both a boon and a curse rapper extraordinaire meaning averse step-laddered verse my first prolonged affair to do and to dare over our heads but like newly weds always a-bed whim-led vital yet dead while known only to me the waves of the sea thrash crash and smash on the cusp of the shore sea-elephant glum mindless on rum … but none of them come forevermore dead in Beelzebub’s bed
Many recorded versions of Edith Sitwell’s ‘Sir Beelzebub’ (‘Facade’) can be explored on YouTube. The link below will take you to a version read by Anthony Burgess . . .
He caught my eye in the heat of afternoon Transfixed my gaze for seconds A cardboard cutout of a man Alone and palely loitering
Transfixed Imprinted in that fleeting glance The bespoke figure etched in my vision’s glass Brought a faltering wisdom
Leaning on my sense of time Disturbing my sense of normality Suggesting some bizarre fantasy Relating to Old Father Time A reminder of both past and present Yet warning of what is to come A comment on my state of mind And on my own unstable sanity A pronouncement best left to fade To curdle in the whey Of a newly felt despondency.
The sense that age had brought me no peace Only an uncertainty That caused me to doubt Not only my present vision But my once accepted faith in a sure future Hitherto grounded in certainty But now clouded in the unknown And coloured in the shadows of doubt
Oh the thrill it is with me still As the dream persists for good or ill
But to recapture its flavour each time it occurs is never to savour the tang that taste of the original
The first touch was always the best for then before the sting had been sucked before the loss of its life blood now decayed the essence that made the sharpness that gave the serpent’s bite the bitter tang of its toxic fang
So little remains to colour that repeating dream its haunting theme that stays to haunt my dimming days to drown my darkening nights