Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meditation at Kew, a poem by Anna Wickham.

Post 583 - As I'm moving house and home at the moment, my entries have been and will continue to be irregular until I'm settled again.

Anna Wickham was the pseudonym of Edith Alice Mary Harper (1884 -1947), a British poet with strong Australian connections. She was born in Wimbledon, London, and brought up in Australia in a rather disordered existence, mostly in Brisbane and Sydney. She returned to London in 1904, where she took singing lessons and had a drama scholarship at the future Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She pursued her singing in Paris in 1905 and married Patrick Hepburn, a London solicitor, in 1906. Unfortunately, the marriage was not a happy one. During the 1930s, she was well known in literary London but found it hard to get published. However, she wrote a great deal of poetry, much of which was later lost in the war. She took her own life in the very hard winter of 1947.

Anna Wickham, Meditation at Kew, 1921

Alas! for all the pretty women who marry dull men,
Go into the suburbs and never come out again,
Who lose their pretty faces, and dim their pretty eyes,
Because no one has skill or courage to organize.

What do these pretty women suffer when they marry?
They bear a boy who is like Uncle Harry,
A girl who is like Aunt Eliza, and not new,
These old, dull races must breed true.

I would enclose a common in the sun,
And let the young wives out to laugh and run;
I would steal their dull clothes and go away,
And leave the pretty naked things to play.

Then I would make a contract with hard Fate
That they see all the men in the world and choose a mate,
And I would summon all the pipers in the town
That they dance with Love at a feast, and dance him down.

From the gay unions of choice
We'd have a race of splendid beauty and of thrilling voice.
The World whips frank, gay love with rods,
But frankly, gaily shall we get the gods.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I was just a little bit confused during reading the poem, as I didn't know what she really meant by ( uncle harry- aunt eliza)