At Harold’s suggestion we re-visited Lady Walton’s Gardens, a perfect place in which to cool off on a hot summer Sunday. In the ground’s museum we regarded a steel bust of Edith Sitwell.
What, I wondered, was this strange woman doing in a collection of the memorabilia of Sir William Walton? Well, Harold replied, the famous composer’s music was used as accompaniment to a public reading of her poem “Façade” in London in 1922, which caused a great angry commotion.
“It was entirely too avant-garde for the literary tastes of the time,” Harold said.
“Do I detect a certain admiration in your voice?” I asked.
Harold smiled. “Oh, yes. I strongly identify not only with her great love of learning, but also with her troubled upbringing. ‘My parents,’ she once said, ‘were strangers to me from the moment of my birth.’ Only if you have experienced such a disaster can you possibly understand it.’”
“Yes, to me the comment is incomprehensible.”
Harold leaned forward to get a closer look at the bust.
“I’m not familiar with the sculptor. But this stylization is a great compliment to the woman, who in real life was quite awkward looking.”
“The artist is obliged to transform what he or she encounters, don’t you think? As I am doing in my novel about Vittoria?”
“Indeed. But remember that odd yellow flower that caught our attention about a half hour ago?”
“Sometimes reality requires no transformation. It’s odd enough as it is.”