Thursday, April 15, 2010

Velvet Shoes, a poem by Elinor Wylie.

Post 468 - Elinor Morton Hoyt Hichborn Wylie Benet was born in 1885, in New Jersey. She attended a private elementary school for girls in Bryn Mawr. Although her father began poor, he ended up Solicitor General of the United States, appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt. In December 1906 Elinor married Harvard graduate Philip Hichborn, the son of a rear-admiral. In 1910, she abandoned her husband and three-year-old son and ran off with Horace Wylie. A Washington lawyer with a wife and three children, Wylie was 17 years older than Elinor. They lived in England until World War I broke out when they moved to Maine. In 1922 she became literary editor of Vanity Fair magazine. In 1923 she divorced Horace, and married William Rose Benet, a widower with three children. In 1928 Elinor returned to England alone. There she fell in love, again with a married man. But this time it was apparently on her side alone. She sailed back to New York to spend Christmas with Bill Benet and died quietly at home of a stroke on December 16, 1928. During her lifetime, she completed ten volumes of poetry and four novels.

She once wrote, "In masks outrageous and austere, The years go by in single file; But none has merited my fear, And none has quite escaped my smile."

Velvet Shoes by Elinor Wylie

Let us walk in the white snow

In a soundless space;

With footsteps quiet and slow,

At a tranquil pace,

Under veils of white lace.

I shall go shod in silk,

And you in wool,

White as white cow's milk,

More beautiful

Than the breast of a gull.

We shall walk through the still town

In a windless peace;

We shall step upon white down,

Upon silver fleece,

Upon softer than these.

We shall walk in velvet shoes:

Wherever we go

Silence will fall like dews

On white silence below.

We shall walk in the snow.

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