By Charlotte Mew
Not for that city of the level sun,
Its golden streets and glittering gates ablaze—
The shadeless, sleepless city of white days,
White nights, or nights and days that are as one—
We weary, when all is said , all thought, all done.
We strain our eyes beyond this dusk to see
What, from the threshold of eternity
We shall step into. No, I think we shun
The splendour of that everlasting glare,
The clamour of that never-ending song.
And if for anything we greatly long,
It is for some remote and quiet stair
Which winds to silence and a space for sleep
Too sound for waking and for dreams too deep.
The renown of Charlotte Mew rests on a mere twenty-eight poems, most of them brief, published in her one book, The Farmer’s Bride. Born in London into a family marked by affliction, she made unrequited passion, insanity and death her recurring subjects; not surprisingly, she died by her own hand. Her poetry’s eccentric music, rural dialect and melancholy outlook make it reminiscent of Thomas Hardy’s.
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