I Like Stevie Smith

I like Stevie Smith.

Some famous poems:
“Not Waving, But Drowning”,
To Carry the Child

one of my favorites by Stevie Smith is, the last lines just seem the perfect shade of delicate:

Black March

I have a friend
At the end
Of the world.
His name is a breath

Of fresh air.
He is dressed in
Grey chiffon. At least
I think it is chiffon.
It has a
Peculiar look, like smoke.

It wraps him round
It blows out of place
It conceals him
I have not seen his face.

But I have seen his eyes, they are
As pretty and bright
As raindrops on black twigs
In March, and heard him say:

I am a breath
Of fresh air for you, a change
By and by.

Black March I call him
Because of his eyes
Being like March raindrops
On black twigs.

(Such a pretty time when the sky
Behind black twigs can be seen
Stretched out in one
Uninterrupted
Cambridge blue as cold as snow.)

But this friend
Whatever new names I give him
Is an old friend. He says:

Whatever names you give me
I am
A breath of fresh air,
A change for you.

Over at Furham blog, I have just discovered that Anne had Stevie Smith week earlier in November (in it she writes some comments about Steve Smith’s book “Novel on Yellow Paper,” sort of a week-long review). Sometimes soon I too will have a week devoted to a poet. But which one? That is the question. There are, after all, so many. Anne also talks about One Art by Elizabeth Bishop, a villanelle in all its glory. I dig villanelles. If you have one, give it to me!

At Fatalgram Stevie Smith is called a morose English poet. I almost took offense, but didn’t because I can’t disagree with the assessment, though I would add “playfully” morose, or maybe just change it all together to “playfully sardonic”.

A page from the University of Hull about Stevie Smith: here.

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