Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Poetry of Margery Clute (6)


It always makes me frown
To see the Sun go Down -
I always feel depressed
As it sinks into the West.
Does it know no other way
To end the day?

Margery Clute (1824-76)

If you missed the first installment, which provided some background information regarding Margery Clute's poetry, you can read it here.


Arnab Majumdar said...

It's inspiring to see something so simple and so profound at the same time.

Arnab Majumdar on

The Solitary Walker said...

For balance, don't forget though that Clute also embraced the night (so her sadness here watching the sun go down may be a little disingenuous?) I refer you to her little known poem 'Moonrise':

It always makes me swoon
To see the harvest moon -
I run around in glee
Uncorsetted and free,
A solitary lass
Moonwalking on the grass!

Just two points about this short lyric which occur to me: first, is it overstretching the imagination to detect some Wordsworthian influence here? (Wordsworth did write about a solitary lass in his poem 'The Solitary Reaper', and, to my ear, Clute's whole poem has the feel of a microcosmic version of 'The Prelude')

Second, can this be the first ever use of the word 'moonwalking'? Offhand I can't think of an earlier instance, and I'm pretty sure it's not in the Bible or Shakespeare. It's exciting to consider the idea that a dancer of the stature of Michael Jackson could have picked up his terpsichorean moonwalking motif from an obscure mid-nineteenth century English poet!

Rachel Fenton said...

:) This post made me so happy!

Blast-off with the corset (again?!) for some "hee-hee!" and reverse walk off stage left...

Titus said...

Really enjoying this series Dominic.

It's that shortened last line that really makes this kick for me.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments, everyone!

As for Clute and her relationship with day and night, I think one thing one could never accuse her of is consistency. She was never one to let it get in the way of an obvious rhyme.

"Moonrise" is one I didn't know! Only Clute -and this is one of her strengths- could summarize a work such as the Prelude in six short lines.

Margery would be pleased to know that her poetry, over 100 years on, is still giving people pleasure.