Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield 
(Pseud. of Kathleen Beauchamp). 
Born 1888 Wellington, New Zealand. 
Died of tuberculosis in 1923 Fontainbleau, France.
Poetess and writer of short fiction.


Poems


Camomile Tea


Voices of the Air


Covering Wings


Countrywomen


Sorrowing Love


Loneliness



Camomile Tea

Outside the sky is light with stars; There's a hollow roaring from the sea. And, alas! for the little almond flowers, The wind is shaking the almond tree. How little I thought, a year ago, In the horrible cottage upon the Lee That he and I should be sitting so And sipping a cup of camomile tea. Light as feathers the witches fly, The horn of the moon is plain to see; By a firefly under a jonquil flower A goblin toasts a bumble-bee. We might be fifty, we might be five, So snug, so compact, so wise are we! Under the kitchen-table leg My knee is pressing against his knee. Our shutters are shut, the fire is low, The tap is dripping peacefully; The saucepan shadows on the wall Are black and round and plain to see.


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Voices of the Air

But then there comes that moment rare When, for no cause that I can find, The little voices of the air Sound above all the sea and wind. The sea and wind do then obey And sighing, sighing double notes Of double basses, content to play A droning chord for the little throats -- The little throats that sing and rise Up into the light with lovely ease And a kind of magical, sweet surprise To hear and know themselves for these -- For these little voices: the bee, the fly, The leaf that taps, the pod that breaks, The breeze on the grass-tops bending by, The shrill quick sound that the insect makes.


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Covering Wings

Love! Love! Your tenderness, Your beautiful, watchful ways Grasp me, fold me, cover me; I lie in a kind of daze, Neither asleep nor yet awake, Neither a bud nor flower. Brings to-morrow Joy or sorrow, The black or the golden hour? Love! Love! You pity me so! Chide me, scold me--cry, "Submit--submit! You must not fight!" What may I do, then? Die? But, oh my horror of quiet beds! How can I longer stay! "One to be ready, Two to be steady, Three to be off and away!" Darling heart--your gravity! Your sorrowful, mournful gaze-- "Two bleached roads lie under the moon, At the parting of the ways." But the tiny, tree-thatched, narrow lane, Isn't it yours and mine? The blue-bells ring Hey, ding-a-ding, ding! And buds are thick on the vine. Love! Love! Grief of my heart! As a tree droops over a stream You hush me, lull me, dark me, The shadow hiding the gleam. Your drooping and tragical boughs of grace Are heavy as though with rain. Run! Run! Into the sun! Let us be children again.


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Countrywomen

These be two Countrywomen. What a size! Grand big arms And round red faces; Big substantial Sit-down-places; Great big bosoms firm as cheese Bursting through their country jackets; Wide big laps And sturdy knees; Hands outspread, Round and rosy, Hands to hold A country posy Or a baby or a lamb-- And such eyes! Stupid, shifty, small and sly Peeping through a slit of sty, Squinting through their neighbours' plackets.


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Sorrowing Love

And again the flowers are come, And the light shakes, And no tiny voice is dumb, And a bud breaks On the humble bush and the proud restless tree. Come with me! Look, this little flower is pink, And this one white. Here's a pearl cup for your drink, Here's for your delight A yellow one, sweet with honey. Here's fairy money Silver bright Scattered over the grass As we pass. Here's moss. How the smell of it lingers On my cold fingers! You shall have no moss. Here's a frail Hyacinth, deathyly pale. Not for you, not for you! And the place where they grew You must promise me not to discover, My sorrowful lover! Shall we never be happy again? Never again play? In vain--in vain! Come away!


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Loneliness

Now it is Loneliness who comes at night Instead of Sleep, to sit beside my bed. Like a tired child I lie and wait her tread, I watch her softly blowing out the light. Motionless sitting, neither left or right She turns, and weary, weary droops her head. She, too, is old; she, too, has fought the fight. So, with the laurel she is garlanded. Through the sad dark the slowly ebbing tide Breaks on a barren shore, unsatisfied. A strange wind flows... then silence. I am fain To turn to Loneliness, to take her hand, Cling to her, waiting, till the barren land Fills with the dreadful monotone of rain.




Katherine Mansfield - Winter Song


Love Poems - Top 10


Dead Poetessess Society



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© Gaston D'Haese: 08-07-2005.
Update: 01-01-2016.