Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Poetry of Margery Clute (15)

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


The Poet Speaks

Mama and Papa have confused me,
Though 'twas not their intention, I deem.
They filled up my head with the oddest ideas
- I wander through life in a dream!

But they in their turn had their heads filled up
By old men in buckle* and wig,
Whose coffee-house chatter resulted in notions
For which I would not give a fig!

Things can only get worse, I fear -
Good sense is destined to fade
Unless every young lady avoids young men
And resolves to die an old maid!

Margery Clute (1824-76)

*A reference to shoe-buckles, popular in the 18th Century.



On the Opening of St George's Hall, Bradford, 1853


That so grand an edifice
Should house so great a Hall
Is but a Law of Nature:
'Tis but the outside wall.


Margery Clute (1824-76)




The Storm

Thunder and lightning fill my brain
With tumultuous thoughts, all the day long.
Sometimes I think it will surely explode,
Leaving me headless: I hope I'm wrong.

Come lightening, flash! Come, thunder, crash!
Do your worst, that you might inspire
A river of words to flow from my pen
As sweet music flows from the lyre.

Margery Clute (1824-76) 




11 comments:

Gwil W said...

Can't imagine Margery "dying an old maid" somehow! She sounds like a girl chaste all over as the old joke has it. Obviously ahead of her time. What an interesting discovery you have made.

AquaMarina said...

Amazing find Dominic! Who'd have thought Larkin was influenced by Clute, yet clearly he was...

The Solitary Walker said...

Margery back on top of her game, I opine. As your other correspondents have recognised, that first poem, psychologically speaking, is certainly ahead of its time: amazing insights for someone writing pre-Jung, pre-Freud and pre-psychodynamic counselling! Her understanding of the nurture v. nature debate, and her grasp of the conflict between head and heart, is truly awe-inspiring.

However, the image of decapitation conjured in the last poem is vaguely disturbing. Is anyone else reading this reminded of a Bosch painting, or is it just my own warped imagination?

The Weaver of Grass said...

I would like to read some of your Clute poems at Poetry here at my house next Wednesday - which do you suggest?

The Solitary Walker said...

Oh, Pat!!!! Are you a glutton for punishment? If you really do intend going ahead with your Wednesday homage to Clute, then make sure you take a nip or two of your carrot whisky first. It'll make everything a damn sight more digestible - and may also make her double entendres even more side-splittingly hilarious!

Here's a joke that's just come to me (and no, I haven't started on the Christmas booze yet...)

Branwell Bronte: Is that a pretty and provocative petticoat you're wearing under that rather dull, grey dress, Maggie?

Clute: No, it's a Freudian slip, Branwell. And just keep your your hands to yourself.

tony said...

I was in Marks&Spencers in Halifax today.They do a nice range of Freudian slips!

patteran said...

The Larkin rip-off has been noted already. I shall be fascinated to see what else PL purloined from the Clute oeuvre. 'An Arundel Tomb', maybe?

The Solitary Walker said...

Well, Tony, I was in M&S in Lincoln recently, and I couldn't get one to fit me — they were all far too tight, and I'm a 34 waist. Perhaps they should be considered more as a corset? (I'm sure Margery would be nodding in approval at this.)

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments, everyone!

A couple of good corny jokes (the best kind) in there. As for Larkin - no, This Be the Verse is not the only poem of his that shows a distinct Clutian influence.

Rachel Fenton said...

An Arundel Womb's more like for our Marge, Dick! -
Why, t'is but pantry raided for midnight feast, a tomb, (oh ghosts), oh crumbs upbraided!


Unhand me, Margery, lest thee possess me!

Dominic Rivron said...

Rachel: "Lest thee possess me"... Spot on. It does feel a bit like that.