The past and the present
Accordant and discordant
Youth and age,
death and birth.
For out of one came all -
Dame Edith Sitwell is buried in the extension to St
Mary's Churchyard, Weedon Lois, Northamptonshire, England.
Her headstone was made by Henry Moore and features a bronze
plaque with two hands signifying youth and age.
Edith Sitwell's Grave
Photo by Iain MacFarlaine
Edith Sitwell was brought up at Renishaw Hall in
Derbyshire where she had an unhappy childhood - but enjoyed
the company of her two literary brothers Osbert and
She began writing poetry at an early age
and her first volume The Mother and Other Poems
appeared in 1915. She was particularly prolific during WW2
when she produced Street Songs, Green Song
and The Song of the Cold - but her reputation faded
in the 1950s when Movement poetry became more popular.
Influenced by the French symbolists, she became an early
ambassador for Modernism and edited an anti-Georgian journal
In 1923 her work
Facade was set to music by William Walton and she
performed it from behind a curtain - but through a mouth
constructed by John Piper. The general public were both
bemused and impressed.
She also wrote a novel
entitled I live Under a Black Sun (1937) based on
the life of Jonathan Swift and a
biography of Alexander Pope. She was
also a good friend to Dylan Thomas
and was instrumental in getting the poetry of
Wilfred Owen published after his
Throughout her life she attracted attention
for her theatrical dress style and exaggerated and
controversial manner. However, F. R. Leavis once said that
the Sitwells 'belong to the history of publicity, rather
than that of poetry'.
Who knows what beauty ripens
from dark mould
After the sad wind and the winter's
But a small wind sighed, colder than the rose
Blooming in desolation, 'No one knows.'
The Sleeping Beauty