Burton on Taylor


 

She came;
violet eyes brazing,
hair liquid black,
after-birthed
from Morfa’s glutted seam.
 

She blessed and burnt
my summer daze,
a crucible of white heat,
her gleaming teeth
cursed, dispersed
the icy hellions
of my bleak winters.
 

We raged with it,
the horn-ridden beast,
hollered as we let it claw
our clothes, rip ecstasy
from our throats, gouge
our eyes with the taloned
beauty of idolised youth.
 

Ten years we burned
between the sun and its
mutant reflection,
amid lust
and sallow loathing,
quaffing piss-amber
liquor between
fighting and fucking
 

until molten and wet,
she snaked from my
volcanic mouth,
left me spent and spewing,
to roam the sodden streets;
livid, raw, weeping whisky
into soot-filled gutters,
scuttling the gulf
of snot-drowned grief,
 

an ashen shadow of a man
bearing the red welt
of a life half-lived,
without her.
 
 
 
 
 

~ Bit of a departure for me. I’m fascinated by the relationship between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. They had a passionate, tempestuous marriage between 1964 and 1974, remarrying 16 months after their divorce, the second marriage lasted less than a year. He likened their marriage to rubbing two sticks of dynamite together.
 

Burton died of a brain haemorrhage in August 1984. He was buried in a red suit, a tribute to his Welsh roots, and with a copy of Dylan Thomas’s poems, many of which he had recorded to great acclaim. Burton wrote Taylor countless love letters over the years, even when they were apart. His last was delivered to her home three days after his death. She died 27 years later in March 2011 and was buried with the letter.
 

I’ve tried to write this from Burton’s point of view after they divorced in 1974. You kinda have to imagine his deep, rich Welsh voice to get the full effect. If you don’t know what he sounded like check out the link – hands down the best reading of Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle.
 

Richard Burton reads Dylan Thomas

 

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