"Hello, Daniel. This is Dame Edith Sitwell."
"Dame Edith. I am surprised.... Pardon my rudeness, but I was under the
impression that you were no longer living."
"I am dead, it's true, but so is every other personality on this damnable
"Now that you mention it, Dame Edith.... Purely accidental, that...."
"It's the easy way out. You can do violence to their memory and they can't
"Now wait just a minute, Dame Edith. Just a minute! My intentions are
"Spoken like a true villain. And now you do violence to me."
"Dame Edith, you are a marvel. To what do I owe this honor?"
"You honor thyself, fool. Do you know your place as an artist?"
"I follow my conscience. I was not aware of any bylaws for artistic
behavior, my lady."
||"Don't mock me young man. Now
listen. An artist is like a child. In childhood, everything is
foreshortened. 'In one short hour, Eternity. In one small lens, Infinity.'
Distance is like some lovely wild creature -- a faun, a
nymph, a naiad, friendly for all its shyness -- that lives in the woods
and is ready to come at the child's behest. The child meets such
beings and believes in them. Only later do we see the trees, the rivers,
the flowers. With age the bright visions of childhood dim.
But the artist retains that curious sensitivity to impressions and
atmosphere and that intense yet fantastic seriousness which is the basis
of the child's mind. Life appears to the artist as sharp outlines, bright
colors, and strange meetings.... The difference is that the artist has
lost all the self-consciousness of childhood, and is taking us into his
"You are speaking for yourself, Dame Edith."
"Naturally. It's what I do. It's what I do. What I did, pardon me."
"You're always writing about honey-hives and bees and golden stars.
"Very well. Bees are the agents of time, echoing like whispers across the
river-dark palace floors. They are the echoes of rococo gilt carvings, of fires
behind courtly doors. The lips of Narcissus are scented, perfumed like a star.
The bee carries Youth's voice through corridors, along rivers, and so the
naiad's return. Only the young, only the young.
"The flowers that bud like rain and dream
thin boughs water-clear,
Fade away like a lovely music
Nobody will hear.
Aeolus and Boreas
Brood among those boughs,
Like hermits haunting dark caves
None but the wise man knows."
"Rivers or winds of time, and so on."
"You insolent monkey! Please do no more violence to my memory.
Please publish if you will my poem entitled You, the Young Rainbow."
"Here it is, my lady."
You, the Young Rainbow
You, the young Rainbow of my tears,
the gentle Halcyon
Over the troubled waters of my heart:
Lead now, as long ago, my grief, your flock, over the hollow
Hills to the far pastures of lost heaven.
But they are withered, the meadows and the horizon
Of the gentle Halcyon, hyacinthine sun;
Cold are the boughs, the constellations falling
From the spring branches; and your heart is far
And cold as Arcturus, the distance of all light-years
From the flowering earth and darkness of my heart.
"Let me see. Halcyon is Alcyone, daughter of the wind
god, but represents in general the Pleiades."
"Think of the Sun descending to Arcturus, and of Arcturus in turn
descending to Alcyone. The halcyon is a winter bird not afraid to fly across
"Alcyone, the farthest star, is bluish and cold. The Pleiades are like
winter snows fallen from spring branches."
"The Young Rainbow?"
"It's the bridge across suns: from Winter to Spring to Summer."
"Arcturus is Spring?"
"A 'red-gold sun with the fleece of a fox, who will steal the fluttering
bird you hide in your breast.' "
"So, logically, Arcturus has stolen from the Pleiades or Alcyone."
"Yes, and the Earth, which is bright Summer, from Arcturus."
"A progression in time. But the heart is cold."
"Wintry, Daniel. Gone is the sweet swallow, gone Philomel."