Monday, 30 March 2020

Poetry Revisited: Loneliness by Sophie M. Hensley


(from The Heart of a Woman: 1906)

Dear, I am lonely, for the bay is still
     As any hill-girt lake; the long brown beach
     Lies bare and wet. As far as eye can reach
  There is no motion. Even on the hill
     Where the breeze loves to wander I can see
     No stir of leaves, nor any waving tree.

There is a great red cliff that fronts my view
     A bare, unsightly thing; it angers me
     With its unswerving-grim monotony.
  The mackerel weir, with branching boughs askew
     Stands like a fire-swept forest, while the sea
     Laps it, with soothing sighs, continually.

There are no tempests in this sheltered bay,
     The stillness frets me, and I long to be
     Where winds sweep strong and blow tempestuously,
  To stand upon some hill-top far away
     And face a gathering gale, and let the stress
     Of Nature's mood subdue my restlessness.

An impulse seizes me, a mad desire
     To tear away that red-browed cliff, to sweep
     Its crest of trees and huts into the deep;
  To force a gap by axe, or storm, or fire,
     And let rush in with motion glad and free
     The rolling waves of the wild wondrous sea.

Sometimes I wonder if I am the child
     Of calm, law-loving parents, or a stray
     From some wild gypsy camp. I cannot stay
  Quiet among my fellows; when this wild
     Longing for freedom takes me I must fly
     To my dear woods and know my liberty.

It is this cringing to a social law
     That I despise, these changing, senseless forms
     Of fashion! And until a thousand storms
  Of God's impatience shall reveal the flaw
     In man's pet system, he will weave the spell
     About his heart and dream that all is well.

Ah! Life is hard, Dear Heart, for I am left
     To battle with my old-time fears alone
     I must live calmly on, and make no moan
  Though of my hoped-for happiness bereft.
     Thou wilt not come, and still the red cliff lies
     Hiding my ocean from these longing eyes.

Sophie Margaretta Almon Hensley (1866-1946)
Canadian writer and educator

No comments:

Post a Comment

Dear anonymous spammers: Don't waste your time here! Your comments will be deleted at once without being read.