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  • TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Copyright
 Foreword
 Table of Contents
 Dedication
 Poems of Nature
 Darlingford
 In the glade
 May rains
 Deep peace, to the hibiscus
 Winged ants
 Primroses
 Invitation
 "Eyes have they...", the strif...
 "They also serve"
 Farewell
 Home thoughts in June
 Poems of love
 Nightfall, my need
 Impossible
 Love's call, twilight, forgive...
 Voices
 Love's poetry, love songs
 Madness of love
 Down to the shore
 Perfume
 Inevitable
 Wishing, is love wise?
 Tree of love
 Plea, love
 Lullaby, consipiracy
 Heart's strength, repose
 Poems of life
 Black burden
 Guest
 Interlude, test
 Sympathy, politeness, secret
 In the darkness , Frozen
 Words , Winifred Holtby
 To the IAWSEC
 Stone breakers
 My philosophy , sleep
 Banjo boy
 Dawn , They come no more...
 Little brown girl
 Where death was kind
 At the prison gates
 Mother
 Heartcry
 There will come a time . . .
 Now I lay me down to sleep . ....
 Back Matter







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TOWARDSTHESTARSPoems DJ UNAMARSON With a foreword byL.A.G. STRONG UNIVERSITY OF LONDONPRESS'LTD.MALHAMHOUSE,BICKLEY,KENT

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FIRST PRINTEDP()(,.'rr\\..r\" ..'..... ,-,\...)t.i .., .....February 1945 AGEKTS OVERSEAS AU8'l'RALlAANDNEWZEALAND W.8. 8IlABT, P.O. Bos 120 C.C., SYDNEY, !i.B.W.CANADA:CLABKE, IRWIN Co.,Ltd. 480488UIllTeuity Ann11e, TORONTO. INDIA:OREE!i Co.,Ltd. BOKBAY, CALCUTTA,KADBAB. 80U'l'H A'RICA H.B. TDDONB, P.O. Bos94, CAPETOWN.c',:':,-, .;:-: .. -:'PrintedinGreatBritam fortheUNIVERSITYOP LONDONPRESS LTD.,byHAZELL, WATSONAND VINEY, LTD.,London and Aylesbury.

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FOREWORDSOMEyears ago I received a letter from the West Indies containing a few poems.Thepersonality revealed inthelettermade an immediate appeal to me,anditwas manifest also in the poems.Otherletters followed, with more poems.Thenthe correspondence ceased, and I heard no moreofUna MaISon till, tomygreat surprise, she wrote from the B.B.C.mdinvited metobroadcast for her to theWestIndies.Sincethen we have worked together many times in the studio,mdnowshe asks, withthatdiffidence which is oneofthe manycharmingthings about her,ifI will write a foreword to herbookof poems. Idosothemore gladly, because they have a quality whichisrarein the modern world.Doyou by any chance rememberthe inPorgywhere a negro in the courtyardofa tenementbeganrhythmically to hammer a box, and in a few secondsdozensmore had begun to clap their hands and sing to therhythmof hisstrokes?Tosay of a poetthathis work isartlessisa doubtful compliment;butthere is a spl?ntaneity, ajoyofliving, which when itismarried to simple and musicalwordscan give,now'and then, something which only thegreatestartists can achieve consciously.Whatisthe goodoflivingIfyou don't hear the wild birds sing? What is the goodofseekingIfyou don'tseethe flowers in Spring?Andwhatisthe goodofbreathingIfyou miss the perfume theybring?Whatisthe goodofdreamingIfyour soul never goesonthe wing? Thisat a glance may seem too easy, too quick. Butifone JPCak.s italoud-andallUnaMarson's verses should be spoken "oud-it will be found to have all the spontaneityofthe3

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scene inPorgy,plus an integrity whichishard to define, 1 breathes in these pagesasnaturallyasa perfume. The. poets are not alike,butI am reminded from time to timet Padraic Colum andthatmysterious qualityofsimplicity inl verse which made him the favourite poetofcottagers farm labourers in his own country.UnaMarson is not always gay and childlike in herverseForgive meifI wearyyOIl,Love kno'lIJs noshame,and...love me not Lest naughtbeleftInlife worthmydesire.andLove's not for fools Tho' matingbeforall-and the very movingIs Love Wise?,too long toquote; are not the speechofinexperience. At her best, Una Marson has a simplicity and dignity make one listen, and listen with respect. Here is a stat about death:Ihadseenhim Sitting ill the anteroom Eager tobesummoned,Sowhen I heard You had received him I was silent.Thisis an individual voice, andwewould like to hear mofit. Some of the poemsinthis book have come too eal and miss theirmark;butthe best reveal a sincere and ageous personality, and sound a tone that our modern orchq has lacked.L.A.G.STRONd 4

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CONTENTSPOEMSOFNATUREPOEMSOFLOVE POEMSOFLIFE.5 PAG& 72239

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TOMYFRIENDSTELLAMEAD

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POEMS OFNATUREJuneOMYheart, be glad and sing,ItisJune! Hear the music songbirds bring All in tune!Seetherosesrich and rare, Smell the fragrance everywhere,owhat joys beyond compare Come in June.RidinguptoBallaugh D IDINGup to Ballaugh the little Manx train I saw a hostoflovely thingsThatin my heart remain.TheApril sun was shining Adding splendour to the gorse, And Primroses and Daisies Kissed the feetofcow and horse. I saw the snowy lambkins Skippingbythe sheep, And a sow with whitepigsStartledoutofsleep.7

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Riding up to Ballaugh Leavingseasbehind, Climbing up to Gorseland Treasures rich to find.Myheart joined the rhythmOfthe littleManxtrainAsit whistled up the hillside And whistled down again.Yetstillofthatsweet chorus Sent up in praiseofSpringThesong myheartwassinging Seemed far the dullest thing, For I thought, 0 Ellan Vannin,Ofyour many gallant Sons Slain in far-off countries, Prone beside their guns; How they would ne'ergoridingInsun or April rain, Riding up to BallaughOnthe littleMaILxtrain.DarlingfordBLAZINGtropical sunshineOna hard, white, dusty roadThatcurves round and round Following the craggy coastline; Coconut trees fringing the coast, 8

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Thousands and thousandsOfbeautiful coconut trees,Theirgreen and brown arms Reaching out in all directionsReaching up to high heaven And sparkling in the sunshine.Seacoast, rocky sea coast, Rocky palm, fringed coastline; Brown-black rocks, White sea-foam spraying the rocks; Waves, sparkling waves Dancing merrily with the breeze;Theincessant songOfthe mighty sea. A whitesail-farout, Far, far out to sea A tiny boat-Whitesailsall glittering Flirting with the brightraysOfthe soon setting sun,Tryingto escape theirkisses,Invain-andthe jealouswindsWaft her on,on, outtoseaTillsunset, then wearyOftheir battle with the sunThetired winds Fold themselves to sleep And the noble craft, No longer idolisedByher two violent lovers, Drifts slowly into portInthe pale moonlight;9

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Gone are the violent caressesOfthe sun and restless windsShe nestles in the cool embraceOfquiet waves And tender moonlight. Southern silvery moonlight Shining from a pale heaven Upon a hard, white, dusty roadThatcurves round and round Following the craggy coastlineOfJamaica's southern shores.Inthe GladeIWILLsit under the myrtle tree And sighmylife away,Whatelsewould you have medoInthe blinding heatoftheday?Scorching tropic summer's heat Burns intomysoul; I am worthless, limp and weak I cannot reach the goal. Curse me, I deserve your curses, Pity me; merciless sun, Parchedisthe land and warm the air, I wish the day were done. I willgodowntothe river'ssideAnd lay me down in the glade,Tillthe sweet birds' songs are heardnomore And lights forever fade.10

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May RainsIDIDnot knowThereweresomany rutsOnthe hard tarred road UntHthe rains came drizzling down All through the longMayday, And the motor cars dashed by, Making a yellow sprayOfwater on the road. I did not knowThereweresomany ButtercupsInthe green meadows Until the raindrops came, Kissing each gentle bud to life, Bidding them laugh and sing, And now the byways are goldfringedGolden glory that lingers in the heart. I did not knowThatleaves on the SourSoptree Were shaped to treasure pearls Until the quiet lingering rain Left drops to sparkle there, Bringing the tendernessoftearsThatcome from out the swelling heart, Tears thatfillthe eyes yetdonot overflow.II

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Deep PeaceICAREnot for the city's roar,Thehumofbusy marts; Give me the quiet countrysideAndsimple human hearts. I care not for the song and dance,Thegay lights and the laughter; Give me the mountain's sweet romance,Fordeep Peace follows after.Tothe HibiscusFAIRHibiscus, long you lingerInthe gardensofthe poor, Bringing joy and cheer and brightnessTothe peasant's lowly door.Thereyour blossoms bloom ill splendour,Tellingall thatpassyou by Thatearth's beauty and earth's gladnessTothe poorest heart are nigh.FairHibiscus, you are frailerThanthe bloomsofroses rare.Inourhomes youfadeimprisoned; Free, you grow without a care. Fairest cupofreddest radiance,Joycomes with you to my heart;Teachme your own joyful messageThatI may such cheer impart.12

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WingedAntsWINGEDant,Therains have come And your houseofwood Is watersoaked and cold,Soyou and your friends Have come tomyhouse. I am sorry you thought fitTo fly onmypaperToseewhat I had written, Because a sudden impulse,Anirresistible desire Came over me, I had to find How many wings you had Folded into oneAsyou crawled aboutOnmywhite sheetofpaper; I putmyfingerOnyour frail gossamer wings And suddenly you walked away, Leaving your precious wings Undermyfingertips. Now I repent in grief For, little creature, You will fly no more. And now Ifeelyour woe; Has not life's hard caress Forced frommeglad wingsThatboremeto the stars

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When first Isawthe wonuer And beautyofthe world? Little winged ant, Forgive my erring hands, I should have known that wings Are frail and delicate unearthly things.PrimrosesIHAVEgathered tomyheart A colourfulposyofwild flowers. I wish I knew their names, But that scarce takes from meThejoyI share in their being.Letmesee-PrimrosesI know: Palegold-withlong slender stemsWhenthey grow in shady places, .A brighter gold and sturdier stemWhenthey lookupat the sun. Both breathe tenderness And a delicate beauty Beyond all wild flowers; But here, Ifounda secretThatPrimroses keep.Wherebloom the loveliest Here I found,asI reached out 14

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Topick a lovely flower,That,keeping guardbyher, Sharp, armed and vigilant the nettle grew. This, I found to my sorrowAndasI sat me downBythe little whispering streamToname my wild flowersA sadness stole over me. And I sat long with Primroses Inmyhands and in myheart;I thought how,asI reached outTogather a joy from life,Thenettle keeping guard had hurt. A Primrose felt a tearfallon her cheek,Andshe smiledupatmeand said "Donotweep-whenthe nettle's sting has gone You'll recall the joyofthis fair hour Until I come again to herald Spring. Laughing I come each year to earth,Andmany love and callmefair;Butsince you let meseeinto your heart I'll tell you this my secret: come near,Lookdeep into my heart, there too you'llfindA tear."15

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InvitationCOMEhere, where April shines, Mylove-Comehere-whereAprilsings.Come,seethe waves' fair dance,Mylovc, Come,seethe rushing springs. Come where the birds build fast,Mylove,Theirnests in leafless trees. Come, hear their sleepy songs,Mylove, Fall sweet on sunset breezc. Come, seek the gay Primrose,Mylove,Theirclustersofrich gold. 1\nd shy wild Violets,Mylove, Hiding from sunbeams bold. Come to this lovely land,Mylove,Ofgoldengorse and purple hills. Come where war's dincomesnot,Mylove, And Peace the lone heartfills.16

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"" Eyes hm.:e they..WHATisthegoodoflivingIfyoudon'thear the wild birds sing?Whatisthe goodofseekingIfyou don't see the flowers in Spring? And whatisthe goodofbreathingIfyoumissthe perfume they bring?Whatisthe goodofdreamingIfyour soul never goesonthe wing? The StrifeALL day long fi And all night longThesalt waves dash Against the rocks. Do they nevergrowwearyOfdashing themselves against the rocks? All day long And allnightlongMyspirit strives Against my flesh. Spiritofmine, do you never wearyOfmightily striving against adamant flesh?T.S.-217

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" TheyalsoServe"THEYwerejust a dozen privatesWithan hourortwo to spare,Theylunchedonthe grub in the canteen And they didn't seem to care About war or hateorwomen, About guns and bombs and blast)Norfor that about a commissionOrhow long the war might last.Theydidn't belong to the Grenadier GuardsOrsome far-famed highland clan)Theywere simply menofthe Pioneer CorpsInthe lovely IsleofMan.And whatdidtheydo-onthis April day,Theseladsin brown with an hourtospare?They came strolling down to the warm seafront Along the beachasfarasthey dare.Thesunwashot, and the tide coming in,Sothey did what I had been longing todoTook off their boots and wandered outTo meet thewaves-fora dance or two.Notmuch glamour aboutitall, But the Army boots slog on just thesameThecoolofthe sand and sea was acall)And tokisstheir feet the wild waves came.18

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FarewellFAREWELLto thee, My lovely Ellan Vannin,Thetime has come Formeto leave your shore. Farewell to thee, My lovely Ellan Vannin,MyheartissadTosayfarewell once more. Oh, how I love Yourvalesand hills and meadows, Your lovely glens and bluebell-bordered Your sheltered coves where oftIfondly wanderedAndthought that wars and evils were but dreams. Farewell to thee,MylovelyEllan Vannin,I'llcome againToclaim you for my own. Farewelltothee,MylovelyEllan Vannin,Iwillbetrue To you, and you alone.19 .

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Home ThollglltJIII :Tune JUNEcomes again. TilL: Poinciana treesNowblossom in my sun-kissed isle. I am here in London, and the Rowers Ofdainty shades and delicate perfumes Stirmyheart and wake my love.Butitistothe flaming gloryOfPoinciana trees in fair Jamaica Thatmylone heartishoming. I might singoffragrant myrtle blossomsWhiterthan snow and SWl:eterthan hont:y, Ofpink and whiteJune roses, OfJessamines, Hibiscus, Begonias,OfBougainvillea and Cassia, But the flaming Poinciana Callstome across the distance, Calling, calling me home.opride and gloryofourtropic Isle, As thyredand golden petals Drip blood-drops on the sodThatthou mayst bring forth Mighty podsoffertile seed,Sochildrenofyour tropic land,Withbroken hearts that bleedInforeign lands afar, Strain every nerve to bring forthFruitthat may enrich the race,Andare anew inspiredWithhope and loyallonging-20

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Hopethat thy red and golden bannersNowunfurled through all the landMaycall men's hearts To bow at Beauty'sshrineAndloyal longingthatawakesAnd the bestthysons and daughters give.21

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.POEMSOFLOVEMyBelovedIWILLmake youmyBeloved! I will sing to youSongsthat are sweet; I will send to you Thoughts that are beautiful. I will give to youSmilesthat are tender; I will smooth for you Paths that are rough; I will paint for you Exquisite pictures; I will play to you Music divine; I will comfort youWhenyou are weary; I will cheer youWhenyou are sad. I will be near youWhenyou are lonely; I will send to you Sweet dreamsatnight; I will make for you Daysofdelight.22

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Andall-And more thanallYou askofme I willdoforyou-Iwill make you my Beloved.NightfallHowtendertheheartgrowsAtthe twilight hour, !vlore sweet seems the perfumeOfthe sunless flower. Come quickly, wingsofnight,Thetwilight hurts too deep; Let darkness wrap the world around, My painwillgo to sleep.MyNeedSPEAKtome-For when you speak Iamstrong and well and awake. Smile onme-For when you smile I am thankful that Iamalive. Holdmy hands For at your touchTheworld becomes a magic land.23

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Be near tomeForatyour side I find my best and truest self. LiveonforeverThatI may live And love that spirit which thouart;Butlove me notLestnaught be leftInlife worthmy The Impossible YOUaskmejustto be a little wise,Tohalfsubdue the ardour in my eyes,Tofind some unseen pawnthat can restrainThe heated blood that rushes to my brain. Askthenthe wild wind on itsfuI!ious courseTohalfsubdue its mighty unspent force,Andac;kthe troubled sea that she no more Will dash her waves against the placid shore. Askofthe fire that blaz.es ever higherOfits consuming appetite to tire,Andask the sun that moves towards the westTostay its course, subdue its heat and rest: Askon,your chidingissosweet to mt: I have no wish to seek for clemency. 2+

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Love's CallWHY should love call to me againTofollow hero'erpathsofpain?Have I not followed her before To see hercloseon me the door? Have I not wept enoughoftearsTosatisfy the hungry years? 'Why should love call to me againTofollow her through pathsofpain?TwilightHEREin the calmofthe twilightThereisnomurmursave the sighOfquiet wavesaswearilyTheywhisper that nightisnigh. Here in the depthofmy heart Thereisnomurmur save a quiet tear WishingsotenderlyThatyou were near.ForgiveMeFORGIVEmeifI weary you, Love knows no shame ; ForgivemeifI wander wearily Sighing your name.25

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Forgive meifI dream too much About your smile, your eyes, your touch;Toothers love returns, it seems, I only havemydreams.Voices"TAKEdown thy harp from thewilla.And sing." "Ofwhat shall I sing? Towhom shall I sing? "I will tell thee, I will show thee,Trustme." "I trust not voices,Thcydeceive me." rrrustmc, I am worthy;Hcawaits your comingAndlongs for youTosing your songsTohim.""Butwill he answer makeOrshall I singTounresponsiveears? "Hewill not answer make,Butyou willblesshis soulAndwarm your heartWithyour sweet song,;; I prithee, sing."26

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Love's PoetryWILLyoubethe world's beloved And I the world's lover? Will you treasure for meThesemysongs?And when I have sungMyheart's fullburdenThelove songsofallagesForyou the world's beloved,Weshall send themTothe lovers who have been And who shall be,ThattheymayknowNotjusttheway-But the beauty and poetryofLove.Love SongsIAMa womanSoI singofLove, I singofLove Because I am a woman; Nay, more than this, Because Love lingersnotBut leavesmedesolate I singofLoveTocharm her backTome.27

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But. will she hear my songs?Nay,that she will not, Sheisdeaf and blind, She will not hear, She will not see, She will not comctomc. Even so, let herpass 011, She knows I will no more Suffer love's pain. And yet, I am a womanSoI singof Love, I singofLovc Becausc I am a woman.The Madness Luve THEREisno madncss Like unto the madnessofloveWhenitpossessesyour brain.Thereisno feverLikeunto the feverofLoveWhenitpossessesyour body.There is no fireLikeunto the fire ofLoveWhenit consumes your soul.28

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There isno folly Like unto the follyofLove \Vhell it rules your impulse.Thereisno sicknessLikeunto the sicknessofLoveWhenitlaysyou low.Thereisno hell Like unto that bottomless pitOfunrequited Love.Do'wl7 tothe ShoreCOl\1Ewith me,mybeloved, Let usgodown to the shore IIIthe soft moonlight, And letussit on the rocks And throw pebblesIntothe sea.Letussit thereForcenturiesJustin quiet worshipOfthe mighty ocean,Thewaves and seafoam,Theshining coconut palms,Thepale Queen moon Sailing across high heaven. And when centuries have passed And we wearyofour vigil29

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Letuskeep court With Neptune UndertheseaLetliSsport withThebeautiful mermaids And dance and sing. Come, mybcloved-Letusgo down to the shoreInthe soft moonlight And dream.PerfumeIDRINKtoo deepOfthis rich nectarThatiseverywhere. I am drunk With the perfumeOfJessamine, Tulips, And Honeysuckle, I leave the garden Where I find them. For to be aloneIna gardenOfJessamine, Myrtle, Tulips, And Honeysuckle Is notTobehappy.3

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I walk downThccountry lane, And the fragranceOf LogWood blossom Grects mc. I return homc. I sit on the porch. the Steals Into my soul, And I think,Whatcan I doTowinMythoughts From you? For you Are the perfumeOfJessamine, Tulips, Myrtle, And Honeysuckle.InevitableSTRANGEthat the fresh sweet imageofthy face Should fondly linger inmymemory, Strange that in all life's beauty I can traceThypresence tendcrasa sigh to me.Morestrange that to my weary fevered soulThethoughtofthee still warms my heart like wine,31

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l'vlorc strange that in the mighty ocean's roll I hear thy voice still calli.ng unto mine: And stranger far, and yet still stranger far, Is this deep ecstasy that thrills me so, Thissighingofthe roses for the star,Thisprisonofthy spell Ican'tforgo:Yetstrangestofall strangethings would thisbeDid my fond heart refrain from loving thee. Il7ishing IWISHmy heart did not leapAtthe soundofyour voice; I wish my blood did not raceAtthe touchofyour hands; I wish my reason did notfailAtthe thoughtofYOll.Thefates defend me, IwishHow I wish I could hate you!IsLove /-Vise? YOUsaidItwas good for meThatyou should love meNomore. I suppose You meant it, Idonotknow.

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TJ-3 Maybe itisgood For the sunToshine no moreOnthe earth. Maybe itisbest For the rainTonestleInthe embraceOfthe clouds And never visitTheearth. Maybeitiswise For the riverTostop flowing When rocks appear. Maybe itisgood For the moonToreturn no more N or the starsToshine. Maybe itiskindOfthe nightingaleTosing no more Her sweet songsInthe night, And the skylark Need mount no more Towards high heavenIna mistofmelody.33

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Maybe itisgood For the shipThatrides the oceanTohave no harbour. Maybe itisgood For the worldTobeshroudedInblackest midnight.Maybe-butwhy maybe? You lovemenot.Thereisno reasonNorwisdomNorgoodnessInLove thatisnot.The TreeofLoveTHEtreeofLove Is not sturdy, But frail And delicate. Stormy winds, Freezing gales, Unfriendly heat And droughtItwill not Withstand. 3+

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It must be tendedByloversWhoknow Its needs And will obey Itsdemands. A PleaALLthat I most desire I shall forgo, All that thou dost desireItshall beso.Life I surrender,Thefairest and best,Ifthou wilt renderOneeager behest: Leave me my songs, Leave me my singing,Thathushed in the throngMysoul may go winging.LoveTaVE'Snot for fools L Tho'mating be forallFew for the heights are chosen,Forall the call.35

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LullabyISATin the silent room After you had gone Enjoying the sweet harmony,Thedelicate music,Thatyour voice leftOnmyears. Sat there a long while Just thinkingofthe restfulnessOfthe depth in your voice. I wished again to be a little childSoI could nestle in your arms Andfallasleep with the musicOfyour beautiful words For lullaby.ConspiracyTISTEN,little wild violet, L Your heart beats wildlyasmineWhenyouhear the feetofyour lover Stopbythe Celandine.Mylover he halts by the wayside,Heworks far away from the streams, And has no time for my musicOrthe magicofmy dreams.3 6

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I'llbide with you, sweet violet, And we'll banishourloves for aye,Forwhy shouldwedream oflovel'i Whocome notwhenitisMay.The Heart's StrengthHOWmuch the heartcansuffer and still live,Whatdepthsofanguish,lossand longing know,Howmuch that's unforgivable forgiveWhatutmost needs and fairest dreams forgo;Howgreat the strengthofhumanhearts must be That still beat on when all earth's hopes are lost,When eyes with tears are all too dim to see,Andevery brave adventure has been crossed;Howoftendoweseethe tender smileRisefrom a. heart that life itself has broken,Howoftendothe cheerful words beguileThesaddest words that still remain unspoken:Thismighty strength, this faith forever thine,Arefullest proof that manishalfdivine.ReposeDETURN,my heart, from wandering afar ft. Where tempests toss thy unpretentious bark,Restthee content to muse upon the star,Atdawnto hear the musicofthe lark.37

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Stay home and half forget the prisoned painThatwill not have. thee rest in settled peace,Thesimple joys of life thou canst retain,Fromstormsofocean thou wiltfindrelease; Rest, then, my heart, thou knowest but too wellHowstrong and fierce relentless winds can blow;Howfrail thy bark when tempests round thee swell,Howthou dost need the peace thou wouldst forgo:Forheartsdonot upon the wild rocks break;Theyonly know deephurtand ache on ache.

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POEMSOFLIFETowards the StarsHALFlife's ills Are bornofman's desireTobeattachedTosomeone) Orto something. And this desire Is bornofcowardice.Itisnot the Not the weak N or the incompetent) Who clingtenaciouslyItisthe coward only.Togrow upright) Steadfast) Strong) Man must grow Like a tree; Burrow deepInthe soilOfHumanity) And reach upwardsTothe heights.39

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Sometimes there needs Must be A hand stretchedoutToaid-A smile to cheer,Anunderstanding heart, Comrades For Song and Dance. But to cheat lifeOfits ignominiesManmust stand Alone, Firmly plantedInHumanity, And grow Towards the stars.Black Burden IAMblack, AndsoI mustbeMore clever than white folk, More wise than white.folk, More discreet than white folk, More courageous than white folk. I am black, And I have got to travel Even farther than white folk, For time moveson4

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I must not laugh too much,Theysayblack folk can only laugh; I must not weep too much,Theysayblack folk weep always; I must not pray too much,Theysayblack folk can only pray. I am black, What a burden lies U pon heartFor I wouldseeAllmyrace Holding handsInthe world circle. Blackgirl-whataburdenBut your shoulders Are broad. Blackgirl-whataburdenBut your courageisstrongBlack girl, your burden Willfallfrom your shoulders, For thereisloveInyour soul And a songInyour heart.

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The GuestSORROW-youhave comeTobemy guest, I cannot rise And bid you go. When joy comes I welcome her, I am loathTolet hergo-Now, though uninvited You have come, You are hereMyguest. I must receive you, I must bow to you, I must converse with you, I must embrace you, And when you goMyeyesmust follow you In gratitude, Though theybedimWithtears.Sorrow-youhave comeTobemy guest, I bid you welcome, But this IprayWhen you go Leavemea blessing.

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InterludeSTILListhe night,Thegreat city sleeps Wrapped in her black mantle;The stars keep vigil And sentries watch Over a land Waiting in hushed horror. Suddenly, outofthe stillness,Outofthe silent night, Down from the infected heightsMaycome death and desolation. Meanwhile, silence, A wakeful sleeping, And the vigilOfstars And sentries.The TestTHEtestoftrue culture Is the abilityTomove among men, East or West, North or South,Witheaseand confidence, Radiating thepure lightOfa kindly humanity. 43

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SympathyHEARyou my heart's sorrow,olittle bird that sings, Do you my own grief borrowToleaden your lightwings?Now deeper grows my grievingTohear your anguish start,Thismournful thread aweaving Will surely breakmyheart.PolitenessTHEYtellusThatourskinisblack But our hearts are white. Wetell themThattheirskinis white Buttheir hearts are black. The SecretISOMETIMESthinkIfI could stare long enough Into the glowing fire I would discoverOneof life's mysteries.

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But too soon my feeble brain tires,Myeyelids droop, I snooze and drowse, While the fire Dies with its secret.Inthe DarknessGROPINGamid the darknessInthe streetsofa city Oncegaywith myriad lights Is a mysterious sensation.Atfirst I felt afraid,Thenstrangely mystified, And, without thinking, Almost instinctively IaskedGod to take my hand.Frozen pI/interI94I EUROPEisfrozen.Itistoo cold for birds to sing, For children to make snowmen, For rivers to splash and sparkle, For lovers to loiter in the snowlight.Theheart of humanityisfrozen.Itistoo cold for Poets to sing. 45

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WordsOWORDS,Iwooyou! But youfleemyembrace. You never come tomeInall your grace. Would you but come I would build you a shrine, And raise you a templeOfbeauty divine. But words, you mock me, You laugh atmyplea; Despising my pleadings You frown on me. But longismypatience, I shall waitatyourside.Oneday I shall winyouAnd make you my bride.Winifred HoltbyTHEYdobut err who tellmethou artdeadAnd that thy dwellingliesbeyond the skies, How can the Spring return if thou art fled And speedwells bloom that mirror'd thy soft eyer Thyfreshness was the envyofthe Spring,Thinewasthe joyofsummer's radiant noon, +6

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Of thy enchanting ways did song-birds sing, Andcan it be that thouartgone.so soon? ovaliant woman, author, friend, With sympathies as wideasthey were true; Thy heartwaslike a fount where all might bend To drink, and find their faith in life anew:Nowwell might time itself live but a dayDidradiant souls remainenthralled in clay.TotheI.A.W.S.E.C.WOMENofEngland whoinfreedom's nameWorkwith courageous womenofall lands,Forwomen's rights, yet not for women's fame, I greet you, and to you stretch friendly hands. In your inspiringworkI had my partForyouwere morethanpassing kind to me, In Istanbul they took me to their heart Where womenoffar lands met glad and free. What courage have fair England's women shown In public life and inthe quiet home, What bitter struggles have their spirits knownSothat just rights to womanhood should come: For lands can only reach the greater good When noble thoughts inspire sweet womanhood. +7

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The Stone Breakers*"'TIZAme chile,I'sreally tired L Febroke dem stone,Mehan' hat me,Meback hat me,Mefoot hat me,An'Lard,desun a blin' me." "Noso, Cousin Mary, an' den De big backra car dcm A lik updedus' in a weface.MeMassa Jesus knows it,I'sweary ofdiswol'-" But wheyfcdo, Cousin Mary,Mehaffebuy frackfedepickneydem,Ebrydaydem habfefeed.Oem wotless pupa tan roun'debar A trow dice all deday-De groun'isdat dry,Nota ting willgrow-Massy Lard,dislifeishard.An'so-doughdeworkishard I will has to workfepittanceTilldegood Lard call me." 'Liza me chile,I'sreally tired But whafedo-wemus' brokdestone Doughmehan' dem hat me,Meback it hat mc, Written in Jamaican dialect.4 8

PAGE 50

Me foot dem hat me Anddesunitblin'me Well--de good Lard knows All about we sorrows."MyP hilasaphy*(Asexpounded by a Market Woman) Ilriet woman walking quickly ahead of her friend. She carries basketon her head. She swings both hands violentlyasshe the friend close behindherwithout turning:) You can tan up talk wid him,Ifyou and himiscompanionMeand himisno companion." lcond market woman following quickly at her heels:) Meand himiscompanion,yes,Meand himiscompanion,Meandande wide worl'iscompanion For dereisnobody better dan me And Iisnot better dan nobody."SleepTIITup your heart L Insilent prayer And give God thanks For sleep. Sweet sleep that comesTosoothe earth's cares And comfort heartsThatweep. Written in Jamaican dialect. T.S.-+49

PAGE 51

The BanjoBoyBLACKboy,Howyou play that banjo!Gee-itgoes right to my toes, I coulddance all night And through the day again.Howyour facebeams!Do you love it?I'llsay you do.Wheredid you get that rhythm?Thatswing and that motion,Thatbubbling laughterWithwhich you punctuateYoursongs?I have it too, I can feel it going through me, But Ican'texpressasyou do. You know it's good tobealive,Don'tyou,aslongasthe sun shines And the banjoisinyour hands? Maybe you are hungry, Maybe your shirtisgoing, Maybe you are not worth a cent, But what do you care?There'syour banjo, the boys come And sing and hum and dancc Roundyou-theyshare in your joy,Theyrespond to yoursongsThosebanjo songs that call mc.5

PAGE 52

DawnNomoredomen Climb up to lofty heightsTogreet the dawn And chant hymnsofpraiseTothe Eternal Sun God. Instead they fly Like bats and owlsThatseek their preyIndarkness-And in the dawnThey,returningWiththe Sun's return, Cast gloomy shadowsOnhis radiantfaceAnd dull the splendourThatshould gild the dawn.Theycomenomore...OFLOWERSin beauty, You blossomsofair, But fade and dieWhenwinterisnear. But again you riseWhenwinterispast, And smile againOurhearts to outlast.51

PAGE 53

But men who dieOnfieldsofwarNomore will come, But sleep afar.Ohgrief!Ohwac! Come weep with mc,Thatthese no moreOnearth we'll see;Ohgrief!Ohwoe! Come weep with me,Thatmen must dieForliberty.LittleBro"wnGirlTITTLEbrown girl, L Whydo you wander alone About the streetsOfthe greatcityOfLondon?Whydo you start and winceWhenwhite folk stare at you?Don'tyouthinkthey wonderWhya little brown girl Should roam about their city,Theirwhite, white city?52

PAGE 54

Little brown girl, Whydidyou leave Your little sunlit land Where we sometimesgoTorest and get brownSowemay look healthy?Whatare you seeking,Whatwould youhave?InLondon townThereare no laughingfaces,People frownifone really laughs, Everyoneisquiet,Thatisrespectable; There's nothing picturesqueTobeseen in the streets, Nothing but peoplecladIncoats, coats, coats, Coats in A utumn, WinterandSpring, And often in theSummer-A cityofcoated people But little to charm the eye. And the folks are allwhiteWhite, white,white, And they all seem the sameAstheysaythat Negroes seem.Nopretty copper-coloured skins,Noblack and bronze and brown,Nochocolate and high-brown girls Clad in smart coloursToblend with the complexion53

PAGE 55

And wearing delicate Dainty shoesondainty feetThatone can admire.Nofriendly countryfolk Parading the cityWithbare feet, Bright attractive bandanas, Black faces, pearly teeth And flashing eyes.Noheavy-laden donkeys And weary, laden women Balancing huge basketsSocleverlyontheir heads While they greet each other And telloflittle thingsThatmeansomuchtothem. Little brown girl, Do you like the shops And all the lovely thingsInthe show windows? W ouldn't you like a coatWitha fifty-pound tag on it,Oroneofthose little hatsInBond Street? Little brown girl,Whydoyou looksohardAtthe Bobbies And the bookstalls And the city lights?Whydoyou stop and look 5+

PAGE 56

Atall the pictures Outside the theatres? Do you likeshows?Have you theatresInyour country, And from whence are you, Littlebrown"girl? IguessAfrica, or India, Ah no, from someislandInthe West Indies, But isn't that India All the same? I heard you speakTothe Bobby, You speakgoodEnglish, Little brown girl : Howisit that you speak Englishasthough it belongedToyou?Would you like tobewhite, Little brown girl? I don't think you would, For youtossyour headAsthough you are proudTobebrown. Little brown girl, Don't youfeelvery strangeTobesooften aloneIna crowdofwhites?55

PAGE 57

Do you remember you are brownOrdoyou forget?Ordopeople staringatyou Remind youofyour colour? Little brown girl, You are exotic, And you make me wonder All sortsofthingsWhenyou stroll about London Seeking, seeking, seeking.WhatareyouseekingTodiscoverinthis dismal Cityofours?Fromthe look in your eyes, Little brown girl, I know itissomethingThatdoesnot really exist.Where Death wasKindTONGhad I thought L OfDeath And all his mysteries, And then they told me You were dead. I had seen him Sittinginthe anteroom Eager tobesummoned,56

PAGE 58

Sowhen I heard You had received him Iwassilent. I wenttoseeyouLying in dcath's embrace. Iwasafraid-I thought the sight Would tearmyheartTopieces, Andmyanger would rise Against death the intruder. But when I looked Into your lovelyfaceAnd saw the sweet peaceThathiskissHad implanted, I could not weep, And I could not be angry. Ah, sweetisdeath, And kindlyTothose who suffer Unbearable agony: Sweetwasdeath'skissUpon yourlipsBeloved oneTowhom He gave His Peace.57

PAGE 59

At the Prison GatesJamaica, I937THEYmarchedTothe prison walls and knockedatthegates,And when he who was director came forthTheyspoke andsaidunto him, "Weare hungry, we needfoodfor our bodies, .We would join your bandofprisoners And work,sobe that we arefed.Wearemen-weneed work, we need food. Ourwives and sweethearts live in poverty,Wehave nothing to take to them;Wearestrong-wewouldwork-butNoman will employ us." And he the director spake unto them Words that could not comfort, Words that could not feed, Words that couldnotgive nope, Yetthey were kind words; And the sorrowful armyOfKingston's unemployed marchedonOnwith their empty stomachs,Theirempty pockets,Withno hope in their hearts, With no comfort in their souls. And I looked, And behold I saw numerous men,58

PAGE 60

Wealthy, overfed,over-indulged And when they heard this rheir hearts smote them, And someofthesemensaid, Arenotthesemenourbrothers? And others said, Indeed they arenot-Theyare worthless creatures who willnotwork."Andone said, "Butinother lands,Thereare unemployment funds."Andsome said, "LetusariseAnd pool tenthousand pounds,Andlet us give these men landAndmoney to assistthem."Andanother said, "Nay,letusbuildusGreatfactories and useourraw materialsSowecan provideworkfor them,Forthey aremen."Andsothey talked the whileTheirconscience smote them,Theydrank togetherAndwent away happyForthey pledged no wealth Thatno more weary and hungry marchersWouldwalk tothePrison GatesOfKingston, and ask for entranceSotheymight be fed.Andsothrough all the night and dayIseethe weary and hungryCrowdsmarching-everydayMorehungry-cveryday more sad;AndI hear a great stirofvoices59

PAGE 61

Among those who rule the landInpolitics and those who rule in gold. But the trampofthe weary feet still sound,Ontheymarch-mustthey march on forever? MotherMyMother, Come ncar tomeBack fromyourworldI need your comfort,Yourcaress,Yourconsolation. I knowThatyou watch Over me,ever-Butnow-to-nightThesorrows that I feel Only you Can understand. Come close, close to me,MyMother,Letme nestleOnceagainInyour tenderarmsLetme feel your comfort And your strength.60

PAGE 62

I needYourlove,Yourcourage,Yoursweetness,Yourpatience AndcalmMother-comedown From your heaven And comfort Your child.HeartcryGODofthe broken-hearted, DostThouseeAndclostThoufeelThegriefofThychildren?IfI,in one corner,SeesomuchofsorrowThatisto-day And will beto-morrow-Godofthe broken-hearted, DostThousee?OrareThineeyesToodimmed with tears?61

PAGE 63

There willcomea Time ...EACHrace that breathes thc airofGod's fairworlIssobound up within its littlc self,Sojealous for material wealth and powerThatit forgets to look outside itself Save when thereissome prospectofrich gain; Forgetful yet that each and every race Is brother unto his, andinthe heartOfevery human being, excepting nonc,Therelies the selfsame love, thc selfsame fear,Theselfsame craving for the bcst thatis.False pride and petty prej udice prevailWherelove and brotherhood should have fullsway.Whenshall this cease? 'TisGod alone whoknowsjButwe who see through this hypocrisy And feel the bloodofblack and white alike Course through our veinsasour strong heritageMustrange ourselves to build the younger race.Whatmatter that webeas caged birdsWhobeat their breasts against the iron barsTillblood-drops fall, and in heartbreaking songsOursoulspassouttoGod?Thesevery words,Inanguish sung, will mightily prevail.Wewill not be among the happy heirsOfthis grand heritagc:"'-but untousWill come their gratitude and praise, And children yet unborn will reap in joyWhatwe have sown in tears.

PAGE 64

Forthere will come A time when all the racesofthe earth, Grown wearyofthe inner urge for gain, Grown sickofall the fatnessofthemselves And all their boasted prejudice and pride, Willsee vision that now comes to me. Aye, there will come a time when every man Willfeelthat other men are brethren untohimWhen men will look into each other's hearts And souls, and not upon their skin and brain, And difference in the customsofthe race. Though I should live a hundred years, I should notseethis time, but while I live,'Tismine to share in this gigantic taskOfoneness for the world's humanity.Now I layMedownto Sleep. PLEASE,God, lookThoudownInpity on this tortured world. Be near the soldiers on the battlefields,Thesailorsoutat sea,Theairmenasthey soar above the clouds. Comfort those who mourn for loved ones; Put wisdom into the hearts and mindsOfthose who truly fight for justice; Soften the stony heartsofevil men; And, 0 God,speedThyPeaceToearth again. Amen.

PAGE 65

ABOUTTHEAUTHORUnaMarson wasbornintheparsonage'ofa small villageinjamaica. BritishWestIndies.Athome.andlateratHampton.thehigh schoolinherparishtowhichshewona scholarship.herfavouritestudywas Englishliterature.Leaving high schoolshetookasecretarialpostinKingston.butsoonwentontojournalism.Amongherbooksofpoemspublishedinjamaicaare..TropicReveries"and ..HeightsandDepths."Shecameona visittoLondon in 1932.Throughherinterestinwomen'sproblemsshe was askedtospeakatanInternationalWomen'sCongressinTurkeyin1935. She was alsoinvitedtotheLeagueofNationsSessionthatyear.UnaMarsonreturnedtojamaicain1936. hadnewpoetrypublished and playsproduced.workedonthestaffofa dailypaperandstarteda local SavetheChildrenFund. She-returnedtoLondon forherpaperin1938 andlecturedaboutconditionsinherowncountry.SheisnowonthestaffoftheOverseasServiceoftheB.B.C.,wheresheorganisesandproducesprogrammestotheWestIndies.


Towards the stars
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Title: Towards the stars
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Marson, Una
Publisher: University of London Press
Publication Date: 1945
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Subjects / Keywords: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: Caribbean
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Foreword
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
    Dedication
        Page 6
    Poems of Nature
        Page 7 (MULTIPLE)
    Darlingford
        Page 8
        Page 9
    In the glade
        Page 10
    May rains
        Page 11
    Deep peace, to the hibiscus
        Page 12 (MULTIPLE)
    Winged ants
        Page 13
    Primroses
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Invitation
        Page 16
    "Eyes have they...", the strife
        Page 17 (MULTIPLE)
    "They also serve"
        Page 18
    Farewell
        Page 19
    Home thoughts in June
        Page 20
        Page 21
    Poems of love
        Page 22 (MULTIPLE)
    Nightfall, my need
        Page 23 (MULTIPLE)
    Impossible
        Page 24
    Love's call, twilight, forgive me
        Page 25 (MULTIPLE)
    Voices
        Page 26
    Love's poetry, love songs
        Page 27 (MULTIPLE)
    Madness of love
        Page 28
    Down to the shore
        Page 29
    Perfume
        Page 30
    Inevitable
        Page 31
    Wishing, is love wise?
        Page 32 (MULTIPLE)
        Page 33
    Tree of love
        Page 34 (MULTIPLE)
    Plea, love
        Page 35 (MULTIPLE)
    Lullaby, consipiracy
        Page 36 (MULTIPLE)
    Heart's strength, repose
        Page 37 (MULTIPLE)
        Page 38
    Poems of life
        Page 39 (MULTIPLE)
    Black burden
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Guest
        Page 42
    Interlude, test
        Page 43 (MULTIPLE)
    Sympathy, politeness, secret
        Page 44 (MULTIPLE)
    In the darkness , Frozen
        Page 45 (MULTIPLE)
    Words , Winifred Holtby
        Page 46 (MULTIPLE)
    To the IAWSEC
        Page 47
    Stone breakers
        Page 48
    My philosophy , sleep
        Page 49 (MULTIPLE)
    Banjo boy
        Page 50
    Dawn , They come no more...
        Page 51 (MULTIPLE)
    Little brown girl
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
    Where death was kind
        Page 56
        Page 57
    At the prison gates
        Page 58
        Page 59
    Mother
        Page 60
    Heartcry
        Page 61
    There will come a time . . .
        Page 62
    Now I lay me down to sleep . . .
        Page 63
    Back Matter
        Page 64
Full Text






~int






TOWARDS THE STARS


Poems by
UNA MARSON
Is





With a foreword by
L. A. G. STRONG



















UNIVERSITY OF LONDON PRESS "TD.
MALHAM HOUSE, BICKLEY, KENT











FIRST PRINTED .


February 1945


AGENTS OVERSEAS
AUBTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
W. 8. BMART, P.O. Box 120 C.C., SYDNEY, N.S.W.
CANADA: CLARKE. IBWIN & Co., Ltd.
480-486 Univereity Avenue, TORONTO.
INDIA: LONGMANS. OREEN & Co., Ltd.
BOMBAY. CALCUTTA, MADRAS.
SOUTH AFRICA
H. B. TIMMINS, P.O. Box 94, CAPETOWN.


Printed in Great Britain for the UNIVERSITY or LONDON PRESS LTD.,
by HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LTD., London and Aylesbury.





FOREWORD
SOME years ago I received a letter from the West Indies
containing a few poems. The personality revealed in the
letter made an immediate appeal to me, and it was manifest
also in the poems. Other letters followed, with more poems.
Then the correspondence ceased, and I heard no more of Una
Marson till, to my great surprise, she wrote from the B.B.C.
and invited me to broadcast for her to the West Indies.
Since then we have worked together many times in the studio,
and now she asks, with that diffidence which is one of the many
charming things about her, if I will write a foreword to her
book of poems.
I do so the more gladly, because they have a quality which
i rare in the modern world. Do you by any chance remember
the scene in Porgy where a negro in the courtyard of a tenement
began rhythmically to hammer a box, and in a few seconds
dozens more had begun to clap their hands and sing to the
rhythm of his strokes ? To say of a poet that his work is
artless is a doubtful compliment; but there is a spontaneity,
a joy of living, which when it is married to simple and musical
words can give, now -and then, something which only the
greatest artists can achieve consciously.

What is the good of living
If you don't hear the wild birds sing ?

What is the good of seeking
If you don't see the flowers in Spring ?

And what is the good of breathing
If you miss the perfume they bring ?

What is the good of dreaming
If your soul never goes on the wing ?

This at a glance may seem too easy, too quick. But if one
oeaks it aloud-and all Una Marson's verses should be spoken
Boud-it will be found to have all the spontaneity of the





scene in Porgy, plus an integrity which is hard to define, I
breathes in these pages as naturally as a perfume. The I
poets are not alike, but I am reminded from time to time
Padraic Colum and that mysterious quality of simplicity in,
verse which made him the favourite poet of cottagers A
farm labourers in his own country.
Una Marson is not always gay and childlike in her verse

Forgive me if I weary you,
Love knows no shame,
and
love me not
Lest naught be left
In life worth my desire.
and
Love's not for fools
Tho' mating be for all-

and the very moving Is Love Wise ?, too long to quote; tl(
are not the speech of inexperience.
At her best, Una Marson has a simplicity and dignity wl
make one listen, and listen with respect. Here is a sta
about death:
I had seen him
Sitting in the anteroom
Eager to be summoned,
So when I heard
You had received him
I was silent.

This is an individual voice, and we would like to hear m
of it. Some of the poems in this book have come too eal
and miss their mark; but the best reveal a sincere and ca
ageous personality, and sound a tone that our modern orchq
has lacked.
L. A. G. STRONd










CONTENTS


FAGK
POEMS OF NATURE 7

POEMS OF LOVE. 22

POEMS OF LIFE 39










TO
MY FRIEND

STELLA MEAD








POEMS OF NATURE

'une

O MY heart, be glad and sing,
It is June!
Hear the music songbirds bring
All in tune!
See the roses rich and rare,
Smell the fragrance everywhere,
O what joys beyond compare
Come in June.


Riding up to Ballaugh
RIDING up to Ballaugh
On the little Manx train
I saw a host of lovely things
That in my heart remain.

The April sun was shining
Adding splendour to the gorse,
And Primroses and Daisies
Kissed the feet of cow and horse.

I saw the snowy lambkins
Skipping by the sheep,
And a sow with white pigs
Startled out of sleep.
7






Riding up to Ballaugh
Leaving seas behind,
Climbing up to Gorseland
Treasures rich to find.

My heart joined the rhythm
Of the little Manx train
As it whistled up the hillside
And whistled down again.
Yet still of that sweet chorus
Sent up in praise of Spring
The song my heart was singing
Seemed far the dullest thing,

For I thought, O Ellan Vannin,
Of your many gallant Sons
Slain in far-off countries,
Prone beside their guns;

How they would ne'er go riding
In sun or April rain,
Riding up to Ballaugh
On the little Manx train.


Darlingford

BLAZING tropical sunshine
On a hard, white, dusty road
That curves round and round
Following the craggy coastline;
Coconut trees fringing the coast,
8






Thousands and thousands
Of beautiful coconut trees,
Their green and brown arms
Reaching out in all directions-
Reaching up to high heaven
And sparkling in the sunshine.
Sea coast, rocky sea coast,
Rocky palm, fringed coastline;
Brown-black rocks,
White sea-foam spraying the rocks;
Waves, sparkling waves
Dancing merrily with the breeze;
The incessant song
Of the mighty sea.
A white sail-far out,
Far, far out to sea
A tiny sailing boat-
White sails all glittering
Flirting with the bright rays
Of the soon setting sun,
Trying to escape their kisses,
In vain-and the jealous winds
Waft her on, on, out to sea
Till sunset, then weary
Of their battle with the sun
The tired winds
Fold themselves to sleep
And the noble craft,
No longer idolised
By her two violent lovers,
Drifts slowly into port
In the pale moonlight;
9





Gone are the violent caresses
Of the sun and restless winds-
She nestles in the cool embrace
Of quiet waves
And tender moonlight.
Southern silvery moonlight
Shining from a pale heaven
Upon a hard, white, dusty road
That curves round and round
Following the craggy coastline
Of Jamaica's southern shores.


In the Glade
I WILL sit under the myrtle tree
And sigh my life away,
What else would you have me do
In the blinding heat of the day?
Scorching tropic summer's heat
Burns into my soul;
I am worthless, limp and weak
I cannot reach the goal.
Curse me, I deserve your curses,
Pity me, merciless sun,
Parched is the land and warm the air,
I wish the day were done.
I will go down to the river's side
And lay me down in the glade,
Till the sweet birds' songs are heard no more
And lights forever fade.






May Rains


I DID not know
There were so many ruts
On the hard tarred road
Until the rains came drizzling down
All through the long May day,
And the motor cars dashed by,
Making a yellow spray
Of water on the road.

I did not know
There were so many Buttercups
In the green meadows
Until the raindrops came,
Kissing each gentle bud to life,
Bidding them laugh and sing,
And now the byways are gold fringed-
Golden glory that lingers in the heart.

I did not know
That leaves on the Sour Sop tree
Were shaped to treasure pearls
Until the quiet lingering rain
Left drops to sparkle there,
Bringing the tenderness of tears
That come from out the swelling heart,
Tears that fill the eyes yet do not overflow.






Deep Peace
I CARE not for the city's roar,
The hum of busy marts;
Give me the quiet countryside
And simple human hearts.

I care not for the song and dance,
The gay lights and the laughter;
Give me the mountain's sweet romance,
For deep Peace follows after.

To the Hibiscus

F AIR Hibiscus, long you linger
In the gardens of the poor,
Bringing joy and cheer and brightness
To the peasant's lowly door.

There your blossoms bloom in splendour,
Telling all that pass you by
That earth's beauty and earth's gladness
To the poorest heart are nigh.

Fair Hibiscus, you are frailer
Than the blooms of roses rare.
In our homes you fade imprisoned;
Free, you grow without a care.

Fairest cup of reddest radiance,
Joy comes with you to my heart;
Teach me your own joyful message
That I may such cheer impart.
12






Winged Ants

WINGED ant,
The rains have come
And your house of wood
Is watersoaked and cold,
So you and your friends
Have come to my house.

I am sorry you thought fit
To fly on my paper
To see what I had written,
Because a sudden impulse,
An irresistible desire
Came over me, I had to find
How many wings you had
Folded into one
As you crawled about
On my white sheet of paper;
I put my finger
On your frail gossamer wings
And suddenly you walked away,
Leaving your precious wings
Under my fingertips.

Now I repent in grief
For, little creature,
You will fly no more.
And now I feel your woe;
Has not life's hard caress
Forced from me glad wings
That bore me to the stars
13





When first I saw the wonder
And beauty of the world?

Little winged ant,
Forgive my erring hands,
I should have known that wings
Are frail and delicate unearthly things.



Primroses

I HAVE gathered to my heart
A colourful posy of wild flowers.
I wish I knew their names,
But that scarce takes from me
The joy I share in their being.

Let me see-Primroses I know:
Pale gold-with long slender stems
When they grow in shady places,
A brighter gold and sturdier stem
When they look up at the sun.

Both breathe tenderness
And a delicate beauty
Beyond all wild flowers;
But here, I found a secret
That Primroses keep.

Where bloom the loveliest
Here I found, as I reached out
14





To pick a lovely flower,
That, keeping guard by her,
Sharp, armed and vigilant the nettle grew.

This, I found to my sorrow
And as I sat me down
By the little whispering stream
To name my wild flowers-
A sadness stole over me.

And I sat long with Primroses
In my hands and in my heart;
I thought how, as I reached out
To gather a little joy from life,
The nettle keeping guard had hurt.

A Primrose felt a tear fall on her cheek,
And she smiled up at me and said
" Do not weep-when the nettle's sting has gone
You'll recall the joy of this fair hour
Until I come again to herald Spring..

" Laughing I come each year to earth,
And many love and call me fair;
But since you let me see into your heart
I'll tell you this my secret: come near,
Look deep into my heart, there too you'll find
A tear."





Invitation

COME here, where April shines,
My love-
Come here-where April sings.

Come, see the waves' fair dance,
My love,
Come, see the rushing springs.

Come where the birds build fast,
My love,
Their nests in leafless trees.

Come, hear their sleepy songs,
My love,
Fall sweet on sunset breeze.

Come, seek the gay Primrose,
My love,
Their clusters of rich gold.

And shy wild Violets,
My love,
Hiding from sunbeams bold.

Come to this lovely land,
My love,
Of golden gorse and purple hills.

Come where war's din comes not,
My love,
And Peace the lone heart fills.
16





Eyes have they ..."

WHAT is the good of living
If you don't hear the wild birds sing?

What is the good of seeking
If you don't see the flowers in Spring?

And what is the good of breathing
If you miss the perfume they bring?

What is the good of dreaming
If your soul never goes on the wing?



The Strife
AL day long
And all night long
The salt waves dash
Against the rocks.

Do they never grow weary
Of dashing themselves against the rocks?

All day long
And all night long
My spirit strives
Against my flesh.

Spirit of mine, do you never weary
Of mightily striving against adamant flesh?
T.S.-2 17





They also Serve "

THEY were just a dozen privates
With an hour or two to spare,
They lunched on the grub in the canteen
And they didn't seem to care

About war or hate or women,
About guns and bombs and blast,
Nor for that about a commission
Or how long the war might last.

They didn't belong to the Grenadier Guards
Or some far-famed highland clan,
They were simply men of the Pioneer Corps
In the lovely Isle of Man.

And what did they do-on this April day,
These lads in brown with an hour to spare ?-
They came strolling down to the warm seafront
Aloig the beach as far as they dare.

The sun was hot, and the tide coming in,
So they did what I had been longing to do-
Took off their boots and wandered out
To meet the waves-for a dance or two.

Not much glamour about it all,
But the Army boots slog on just the same-
The cool of the sand and sea was a call,
And to kiss their feet the wild waves came.






Farewell


FAREWELL to thee,
My lovely Ellan Vannin,
The time has come
For me to leave your shore.

Farewell to thee,
My lovely Ellan Vannin,
My heart is sad
To say farewell once more.

Oh, how I love
Your vales and hills and meadows,
Your lovely glens and bluebell-bordered streams,
Your sheltered coves where oft I fondly wandered
And thought that wars and evils were but dreams.

Farewell to thee,
My lovely Ellan Vannin,
I'll come again
To claim you for my own.

Farewell to thee,
My lovely Ellan Vannin,
I will be true
To you, and you alone.


19






Home Thoughts in June
UNE comes again. The Poinciana trees
Now blossom in my sun-kissed isle.
I am here in London, and the flowers
Of dainty shades and delicate perfumes
Stir my heart and wake my love.

But it is to the flaming glory
Of Poinciana trees in fair Jamaica
That my lone heart is homing.
I might sing of fragrant myrtle blossoms
Whiter than snow and sweeter than honey,
Of pink and white June roses,
Of Jessamines, Hibiscus, Begonias,
Of Bougainvillea and Cassia,
But the flaming Poinciana
Calls to me across the distance,
Calling, calling me home.

O pride and glory of our tropic Isle,
As thy red and golden petals
Drip blood-drops on the sod
That thou mayst bring forth
Mighty pods of fertile seed,
So children of your tropic land,
With broken hearts that bleed
In foreign lands afar,
Strain every nerve to bring forth
Fruit that may enrich the race,
And are anew inspired
With hope and loyal longing-
20






Hope that thy red and golden banners
Now unfurled through all the land
May call men's hearts
To bow at Beauty's shrine-
And loyal longing that awakes
And claims the best thy sons and daughters give.








-POEMS OF LOVE

My Beloved
I WILL make you my Beloved!
I will sing to you
Songs that are sweet;
I will send to you
Thoughts that are beautiful.

I will give to you
Smiles that are tender;
I will smooth for you
Paths that are rough;
I will paint for you
Exquisite pictures;
I will play to you
Music divine;
I will comfort you
When you are weaiy;
I will cheer you
When you are sad.

I will be near you
When you are lonely;
I will send to you
Sweet dreams at night;
I will make for you
Days of delight.
22






And all-
And more than all-
You ask of me
I will do for you-
I will make you my Beloved.


Nightfall
HOW tender the heart grows
At the twilight hour,
More sweet seems the perfume
Of the sunless flower.

Come quickly, wings of night,
The twilight hurts too deep;
Let darkness wrap the world around,
My pain will go to sleep.


My Need

S PEAK to me-
For when you speak
I am strong and well and awake.

Smile on me-
For when you smile
I am thankful that I am alive.

Hold my hands-
For at your touch
The world becomes a magic land.
23





Be near to me-
For at your side
I find my best and truest self.

Live on forever
That I may live
And love that spirit which thou art;

But love me not
Lest naught be left
In life worth my desire.


The Impossible

YOU ask me just to be a little wise,
To half subdue the ardour in my eyes,
To find some unseen power that can restrain
The heated blood that rushes to my brain.

Ask then the wild wind on its furious course
To half subdue its mighty unspent force,
And ask the troubled sea that she no more
Will dash her waves against the placid shore.

Ask of the fire that blazes ever higher
Of its consuming appetite to tire,
And ask the sun that moves towards the west
To stay its course, subdue its heat and rest:

Ask on, your chiding is so sweet to me
I have no wish to seek for clemency.





Love's Call

W HY should love call to me again
To follow her o'er paths of pain?
Have I not followed her before
To see her close on me the door?
Have I not wept enough of tears
To satisfy the hungry years?
Why should love call to me again
To follow her through paths of pain ?


Twilight

H ERE in the calm of the twilight
There is no murmur save the sigh
Of quiet waves as wearily
They whisper that night is nigh.
Here in the depth of my heart
There is no murmur save a quiet tear
Wishing so tenderly
That you were near.


Forgive Me
FORGIVE me if I weary you,
Love knows no shame
Forgive me if I wander wearily
Sighing your name.






Forgive me if I dream too much
About your smile, your eyes, your touch;
To others love returns, it seems,
I only have my dreams.


Voices

" fAKE down thy harp from the willow
L And sing."
" Of what shall I sing?
To whom shall I sing? "
" I will tell thee,
I will show thee,
Trust me."

" I trust not voices,
They deceive me."
" Trust me, I am worthy;
He awaits your coming
And longs for you
To sing your songs
To him."

" But will he answer make
Or shall I sing
To unresponsive ears? "
" He will not answer make,
But you will bless his soul
And warm your heart
With your sweet songs;
I prithee, sing."
26






Love's Poetry


WILL you be the world's beloved
And I the world's lover?
Will you treasure for me
These my songs?
And when I have sung
My heart's full burden-
The love songs of all ages-
For you the world's beloved,
We shall send them
To the lovers who have been
And who shall be,
That they may know
Not just the way-
But the beauty and poetry of Love.




Love Songs

I AM a woman
So I sing of Love,
I sing of Love
Because I am a woman;
Nay, more than this,
Because Love lingers not
But leaves me desolate
I sing of Love
To charm her back
To me.






But. will she hear my songs?
Nay, that she will not,
She is deaf and blind,
She will not hear,
She will not see,
She will not come to me.
Even so, let her pass on,
She knows I will no more
Suffer love's pain.

And yet,
I am a woman
So I sing of Love,
I sing of Love
Because I am a woman.



The Madness of Love

THERE is no madness
Like unto the madness of love
When it possesses your brain.

There is no fever
Like unto the fever of Love
When it possesses your body.

There is no fire
Like unto the fire of Love
When it consumes your soul.
28






There is no folly
Like unto the folly of Love
When it rules your impulse.

There is no sickness
Like unto the sickness of Love
When it lays you low.

There is no hell
Like unto that bottomless pit
Of unrequited Love.


Down to the Shore

C OMIE with me, my beloved,
Let us go down to the shore
In the soft moonlight,
And let us sit on the rocks
And throw pebbles
Into the sea.

Let us sit there
For centuries
Just in quiet worship
Of the mighty ocean,
The waves and seafoam,
The shining coconut palms,
The pale Queen moon
Sailing across high heaven.

And when centuries have passed
And we weary of our vigil
29






Let us keep court
With Neptune
Under the sea-
Let us sport with
The beautiful mermaids
And dance and sing.

Come, my beloved-
Let us go down to the shore
In the soft moonlight
And dream.


Perfume
I DRINK too deep
Of this rich nectar
That is everywhere.
I am drunk
With the perfume
Of Jessamine,
Tulips,
And Honeysuckle,
I leave the garden
Where I find them.
For to be alone
In a garden
Of Jessamine,
Myrtle,
Tulips,
And Honeysuckle
Is not
To be happy.
30






I walk down
The country lane,
And the fragrance
Of Logwood blossom
Greets me.
I return home.
I sit on the porch.
Again the perfume
Steals
Into my soul,
And I think,
What can I do
To win
My thoughts
From you?

For you
Are the perfume
Of Jessamine,
Tulips,
Myrtle,
And Honeysuckle.


Inevitable

STRANGE that the fresh sweet image of thy face
Should fondly linger in my memory,
Strange that in all life's beauty I can trace
Thy presence tender as a sigh to me.
More strange that to my weary fevered soul
The thought of thee still warms my heart like wine,
3x






More strange that in the mighty ocean's roll
I hear thy voice still calling unto mine:
And stranger far, and yet still stranger far,
Is this deep ecstasy that thrills me so,
This sighing of the roses for the star,
This prison of thy spell I can't forgo:
Yet strangest of all strange things would this be
Did my fond heart refrain from loving thee.



Wishing
I WISH my heart did not leap
At the sound of your voice;
I wish my blood did not race
At the touch of your hands;
I wish my reason did not fail
At the thought of you.
The fates defend me, I wish-
How I wish I could hate you!



Is Love Wise

YOU said
It was good for me
That you should love me
No more.
I suppose
You meant it,
I do not know.






Maybe it is good
For the sun
To shine no more
On the earth.
Maybe it is best
For the rain
To nestle
In the embrace
Of the clouds
And never visit
The earth.

Maybe it is wise
For the river
To stop flowing
When rocks appear.
Maybe it is good
For the moon
To return no more
Nor the stars
To shine.


Maybe it is kind
Of the nightingale
To sing no more
Her sweet songs
In the night,
And the skylark
Need mount no more
Towards high heaven
In a mist of melody.


TJ..--





Maybe it is good
For the ship
That rides the ocean
To have no harbour.
Maybe it is good
For the world
To be shrouded
In blackest midnight.

Maybe-but why maybe?
You love me not.
There is no reason
Nor wisdom
Nor goodness
In Love that is not.




The Tree of Love

T HE tree of Love
Is not sturdy,
But frail
And delicate.

Stormy winds,
Freezing gales,
Unfriendly heat
And drought
It will not
Withstand.






It must be tended
By lovers
Who know
Its needs
And will obey
Its demands.


A Plea
ALL that I most desire
I shall forgo,
All that thou dost desire
It shall be so.

Life I surrender,
The fairest and best,
If thou wilt render
One eager behest:

Leave me my songs,
Leave me my singing,
That hushed in the throng
My soul may go winging.


Love
LOVE'S not for fools
Tho' mating be for all-
Few for the heights are chosen,
For all the call.






Lullaby


I SAT in the silent room
After you had gone
Enjoying the sweet harmony,
The delicate music,
That your voice left
On my ears.

Sat there a long while
Just thinking of the restfulness
Of the depth in your voice.
I wished again to be a little child
So I could nestle in your arms
And fall asleep with the music
Of your beautiful words
For lullaby.



Conspiracy

LISTEN, little wild violet,
Your heart beats wildly as mine
When you hear the feet of your lover
Stop by the Celandine.

My lover he halts by the wayside,
He works far away from the streams,
And has no time for my music
Or the magic of my dreams.
36






I'll bide with you, sweet violet,
And we'll banish our loves for aye,
For why should we dream of lovers
Who come not when it is May.



The Heart's Strength

HOW much the heart can suffer and still live,
What depths of anguish, loss and longing know,
How much that's unforgivable forgive
What utmost needs and fairest dreams forgo;
How great the strength of human hearts must be
That still beat on when all earth's hopes are lost,
When eyes with tears are all too dim to see,
And every brave adventure has been crossed;
How often do we see the tender smile
Rise from a heart that life itself has broken,
How often do the cheerful words beguile
The saddest words that still remain unspoken:
This mighty strength, this faith forever thine,
Are fullest proof that man is half divine.



Repose
RETURN, my heart, from wandering afar
Where tempests toss thy unpretentious bark,
Rest thee content to muse upon the star,
At dawn to hear the music of the lark.
37





Stay home and half forget the prisoned pain
That will not have thee rest in settled peace,
The simple joys of life thou canst retain,
From storms of ocean thou wilt find release;
Rest, then, my heart, thou knowest but too well
How strong and fierce relentless winds can blow;
How frail thy bark when tempests round thee swell,
How thou dost need the peace thou wouldst forgo:
For hearts do not upon the wild rocks break;
They only know deep hurt and ache on ache.








POEMS OF LIFE


Towards the Stars

H ALF life's ills
Are born of man's desire
To be attached
To someone,
Or to something.

And this desire
Is born of cowardice.
It is not the feeble,
Not the weak
Nor the incompetent,
Who cling tenaciously-
It is the coward only.

To grow upright,
Steadfast,
Strong,
Man must grow
Like a tree;
Burrow deep
In the soil
Of Humanity,
And reach upwards
To the heights.





Sometimes there needs
Must be
A hand stretched out
To aid-
A smile to cheer,
An understanding heart,
Comrades
For Song and Dance.

But to cheat life
Of its ignominies
Man must stand
Alone,
Firmly planted
In Humanity,
And grow
Towards the stars.



Black Burden
I AM black,
And so I must be
More clever than white folk,
More wise than white.folk,
More discreet than white folk,
More courageous than white folk.

I am black,
And I have got to travel
Even farther than white folk,
For time moves on-






I must not laugh too much,
They say black folk can only laugh;
I must not weep too much,
They say black folk weep always;
I must not pray too much,
They say black folk can only pray.

I am black,
What a burden lies
Upon my heart-
For I would see
All my race
Holding hands
In the world circle.

Black girl-what a burden-
But your shoulders
Are broad.
Black girl-what a burden-
But your courage is strong-
Black girl, your burden
Will fall from your shoulders,
For there is love
In your soul
And a song
In your heart.






The Guest


SORROW-you have come
To be my guest,
I cannot rise
And bid you go.

When joy comes
I welcome her,
I am loath
To let her go-
Now, though uninvited
You have come,
You are here
My guest.
I must receive you,
I must bow to you,
I must converse with you,
I must embrace you,
And when you go
My eyes must follow you
Ii gratitude,
Though they be dim
With tears.

Sorrow-you have come
To be my guest,
I bid you welcome,
But this I pray-
When you go
Leave me a blessing.






Interlude


S TILL is the night,
The great city sleeps
Wrapped in her black mantle;
The stars keep vigil
And sentries watch
Over a land
Waiting in hushed horror.

Suddenly, out of the stillness,
Out of the silent night,
Down from the infected heights
May come death and desolation.
Meanwhile, silence,
A wakeful sleeping,
And the vigil
Of stars
And sentries.




The Test

T HE test of true culture
Is the ability
To move among men,
East or West,
North or South,
With ease and confidence,
Radiating the pure light
Of a kindly humanity.
43






Sympathy
HEAR you my heart's sorrow,
0 little bird that sings,
Do you my own grief borrow
To leaden your light wings?

Now deeper grows my grieving
To hear your anguish start,
This mournful thread aweaving
Will surely break my heart.



Politeness
THEY tell us
That our skin is black
But our hearts are white.

We tell them
That their skin is white
But their hearts are black.



The Secret
I SOMETIMES think
If I could stare long enough
Into the glowing fire
I would discover
One of life's mysteries.
44






But too soon my feeble brain tires,
My eyelids droop,
I snooze and drowse,
While the fire
Dies with its secret.


In the Darkness
GROPING amid the darkness
In the streets of a city
Once gay with myriad lights
Is a mysterious sensation.
At first I felt afraid,
Then strangely mystified,
And, without thinking,
Almost instinctively
I asked God to take my hand.


Frozen
Winter x941

EUROPE is frozen.
It is too cold for birds to sing,
For children to make snowmen,
For rivers to splash and sparkle,
For lovers to loiter in the snowlight.

The heart of humanity is frozen.
It is too cold for Poets to sing.
45






Words

O WORDS, I woo you!
But you flee my embrace.
You never come to me
In all your grace.

Would you but come
I would build you a shrine,
And raise you a temple
Of beauty divine.

But words, you mock me,
You laugh at my plea;
Despising my pleadings
You frown on me.

But long is my patience,
I shall wait at your side.
One day I shall win you
And make you my bride.


Winifred Holtby
THEY do but err who tell me thou art dead
And that thy dwelling lies beyond the skies
How can the Spring return if thou art fled
And speedwells bloom that mirror'd thy soft eyed

Thy freshness was the envy of the Spring,
Thine was the joy of summer's radiant noon,
46






Of thy enchanting ways did song-birds sing,
And can it be that thou art gone so soon?

O valiant woman, author, speaker, friend,
With sympathies as wide as they were true;
Thy heart was like a fount where all might bend
To drink, and find their faith in life anew:

Now well might time itself live but a day
Did radiant souls remain enthralled in clay.



To the I.A.W.S.E.C.

WOMEN of England who in freedom's name
Work with courageous women of all lands,
For women's rights, yet not for women's fame,
I greet you, and to you stretch friendly hands.
In your inspiring work I had my part
For you were more than passing kind to me,
In Istanbul they took me to their heart
Where women of far lands met glad and free.
What courage have fair England's women shown
In public life and in the quiet home,
What bitter struggles have their spirits known
So that just rights to womanhood should come:
For lands can only reach the greater good
When noble thoughts inspire sweet womanhood.






The Stone Breakers*


" 'T IZA me chile, I's really tired
*l. Fe broke dem stone,
Me han' hat me,
Me back hat me,
Me foot hat me,
An' Lard, de sun a blin' me."

" No so, Cousin Mary, an' den
De big backra car dem
A lik up de dus' in a we face.
Me Massa Jesus knows it,
I's weary of dis wol'-

" But whey fe do, Cousin Mary,
Me haf fe buy frack fe de pickney dem,
Ebry day dem hab fe feed.
Dem wotless pupa tan roun' de bar
A trow dice all de day-
De groun' is dat dry,
Not a ting will grow-
Massy Lard, dis life is hard.
An' so-dough de work is hard
I will has to work fe pittance
Till de good Lard call me."

" 'Liza me chile, I's really tired
But wha fe do-we mus' brok de stone
Dough me han' dem hat me,
Me back it hat me,
Written in Jamaican dialect.
48





Me foot dem hat me
And de sun it blin' me-
Well--de good Lard knows
All about we sorrows."

My Philosophy *
(As expounded by a Market Woman)
lutet woman walking quickly ahead of her friend. She carries
t basket on her head. She swings both hands violently as she
sies the friend close behind her without turning:)
You can tan up talk wid him,
If you and him is companion
Me and him is no companion."
cond market woman following quickly at her heels:)
Me and him is companion, yes,
Me and him is companion,
Me and all de wide worl' is companion
For dere is nobody better dan me
And I is not better dan nobody."

Sleep
FT up your heart
In silent prayer
And give God thanks
For sleep.
Sweet sleep that comes
To soothe earth's cares
And comfort hearts
That weep.
Written in Jamaican dialect.
T.s.-4 49





The Banjo Boy

BLACK boy,
How you play that banjo!
Gee-it goes right to my toes,
I could dance all night
And through the day again.
How your face beams!
Do you love it?
I'll say you do.

Where did you get that rhythm?
That swing and that motion,
That bubbling laughter
With which you punctuate
Your songs? I have it too,
I can feel it going through me,
But I can't express as you do.

You know it's good to be alive,
Don't you, as long as the sun shines
And the banjo is in your hands?
Maybe you are hungry,
Maybe your shirt is going,
Maybe you are not worth a cent,
But what do you care?

There's your banjo, the boys come
And sing and hum and dance
Round you-they share in your joy,
They respond to your songs-
Those banjo songs that call me.





Dawn


NO more do men
Climb up to lofty heights
To greet the dawn
And chant hymns of praise
To the Eternal
Sun God.
Instead they fly
Like bats and owls
That seek their prey
In darkness-
And in the dawn
They, returning
With the Sun's return,
Cast gloomy shadows
On his radiant face
And dull the splendour
That should gild the dawn.


They come no more .

O FLOWERS in beauty,
You blossom so fair,
But fade and die
When winter is near.
But again you rise
When winter is past,
And smile again
Our hearts to outlast.





But men who die
On fields of war
No more will come,
But sleep afar.

Oh grief! Oh woe!
Come weep with me,
That these no more
On earth we'll see;

Oh grief! Oh woe!
Come weep with me,
That men must die
For liberty.



Little Brown Girl

ITTLE brown girl,
Why do you wander alone
About the streets
Of the great city
Of London?

Why do you start and wince
When white folk stare at you?
Don't you think they wonder
Why a little brown girl
Should roam about their city,
Their white, white city?






Little brown girl,
Why did you leave
Your little sunlit land
Where we sometimes go
To rest and get brown
So we may look healthy?

What are you seeking,
What would you have?
In London town
There are no laughing faces,
People frown if one really laughs,
Everyone is quiet,
That is respectable;
There's nothing picturesque
To be seen in the streets,
Nothing but people clad
In coats, coats, coats,
Coats in Autumn, Winter and Spring,
And often in the Summer-
A city of coated people
But little to charm the eye.

And the folks are all white-
White, white, white,
And they all seem the same
As they say that Negroes seem.
No pretty copper-coloured skins,
No black and bronze and brown,
No chocolate and high-brown girls
Clad in smart colours
To blend with the complexion






And wearing delicate
Dainty shoes on dainty feet
That one can admire.
No friendly countryfolk
Parading the city
With bare feet,
Bright attractive bandanas,
Black faces, pearly teeth
And flashing eyes.
No heavy-laden donkeys
And weary, laden women
Balancing huge baskets
So cleverly on their heads
While they greet each other
And tell of little things
That mean so much to them.

Little brown girl,
Do you like the shops
And all the lovely things
In the show windows?
Wouldn't you like a coat
With a fifty-pound tag on it,
Or one of those little hats
In Bond Street?

Little brown girl,
Why do you look so hard
At the Bobbies
And the bookstalls
And the city lights?
Why do you stop and look







At all the pictures
Outside the theatres?
Do you like shows?
Have you theatres
In your country,
And from whence are you,
Little brown girl?
I guess Africa, or India,
Ah no, from some island
In the West Indies,
But isn't that India
All the same?

I heard you speak
To the Bobby,
You speak good English,
Little brown girl:
How is it that you speak
English as though it belonged
To you?

Would you like to be white,
Little brown girl?
I don't think you would,
For you toss your head
As though you are proud
To be brown.

Little brown girl,
Don't you feel very strange
To be so often alone
In a crowd of whites?






Do you remember you are brown
Or do you forget?
Or do people staring at you
Remind you of your colour?

Little brown girl,
You are exotic,
And you make me wonder
All sorts of things
When you stroll about London
Seeking, seeking, seeking.
What are you seeking
To discover in this dismal
City of ours?
From the look in your eyes,
Little brown girl,
I know it is something
That does not really exist.



Where Death was Kind

NG had I thought
Of Death
And all his mysteries,
And then they told me
You were dead.

I had seen him
Sitting in the anteroom
Eager to be summoned,






So when I heard
You had received him
I was silent.

I went to see you
Lying in death's embrace.
I was afraid-
I thought the sight
Would tear my heart
To pieces,
And my anger would rise
Against death the intruder.

But when I looked
Into your lovely face
And saw the sweet peace
That his kiss
Had implanted,
I could not weep,
And I could not be angry.

Ah, sweet is death,
And kindly
To those who suffer
Unbearable agony:
Sweet was death's kiss
Upon your lips-
Beloved one
To whom
He gave His Peace.






At the Prison Gates


Jamaica, Z937

THEY marched
To the prison walls and knocked at the gates,
And when he who was director came forth
They spoke and said unto him,
" We are hungry, we need food for our bodies,
.We would join your band of prisoners
And work, so be that we are fed.
We are men-we need work, we need food.
Our wives and sweethearts live in poverty,
We have nothing to take to them;
We are strong-we would work-but
No man will employ us."

And he the director spake unto them
Words that could not comfort,
Words that could not feed,
Words that could not give hope,
Yet they were kind words;
And the sorrowful army
Of Kingston's unemployed marched on-
On with their empty stomachs,
Their empty pockets,
With no hope in their hearts,
With no comfort in their souls.

And I looked,
And behold I saw numerous men,
58





Wealthy, overfed, over-indulged-
And when they heard this
Their hearts smote them,
And some of these men said,
"Are not these men our brothers?"
And others said, Indeed they are not-
They are worthless creatures who will not work."
And one said, But in other lands,
There are unemployment funds."
And some said, Let us arise
And pool ten thousand pounds,
And let us give these men land
And money to assist them."
And another said, Nay, let us build us
Great factories and use our raw materials
So we can provide work for them,
For they are men."
And so they talked the while
Their conscience smote them,
They drank together
And went away happy
For they pledged no wealth
That no more weary and hungry marchers
Would walk to the Prison Gates
Of Kingston, and ask for entrance
So they might be fed.

And so through all the night and day
I see the weary and hungry
Crowds marching-every day
More hungry-every day more sad;
And I hear a great stir of voices







Among those who rule the land
In politics and those who rule in gold.
But the tramp of the weary feet still sound,
On they march-must they march on forever?




Mother

MY Mother,
Come near to me
Back from your world-
I need your comfort,
Your caress,
Your consolation.

I know
That you watch
Over me, ever-
But now-to-night-
The sorrows that I feel
Only you
Can understand.

Come close, close to me,
My Mother,
Let me nestle
Once again
In your tender arms-
Let me feel your comfort
And your strength.







I need
Your love,
Your courage,
Your sweetness,
Your patience
And calm-
Mother-come down
From your heaven
And comfort
Your child.



Heartcry
G OD of the broken-hearted,
Dost Thou see
And dost Thou feel
The grief of Thy children?

If I, in one corner,
See so much of sorrow
That is to-day
And will be to-morrow-

God of the broken-hearted,
Dost Thou see?
Or are Thine eyes
Too dimmed with tears?






There will come a Time .


EACH race that breathes the air of God's fair wodl
Is so bound up within its little self,
So jealous for material wealth and power
That it forgets to look outside itself
Save when there is some prospect of rich gain;
Forgetful yet that each and every race
Is brother unto his, and in the heart
Of every human being, excepting none,
There lies the selfsame love, the selfsame fear,
The selfsame craving for the best that is.
False pride and petty prejudice prevail
Where love and brotherhood should have full sway.

When shall this cease? 'Tis God alone who knows;
But we who see through this hypocrisy
And feel the blood of black and white alike
Course through our veins as our strong heritage
Must range ourselves to build the younger race.
What matter that we be as caged birds
Who beat their breasts against the iron bars
Till blood-drops fall, and in heartbreaking songs
Our souls pass out to God? These very words,
In anguish sung, will mightily prevail.
We will not be among the happy heirs
Of this grand heritage-but unto us
Will come their gratitude and praise,
And children yet unborn will reap in joy
What we have sown in tears.






For there will come
A time when all the races of the earth,
Grown weary of the inner urge for gain,
Grown sick of all the fatness of themselves
And all their boasted prejudice and pride,
Will see this vision that now comes to me.
Aye, there will come a time when every man
Will feel that other men are brethren unto him-
When men will look into each other's hearts
And souls, and not upon their skin and brain,
And difference in the customs of the race.
Though I should live a hundred years,
I should not see this time, but while I live,
'Tis mine to share in this gigantic task
Of oneness for the world's humanity.


Now I lay Me down to Sleep .

P LEASE, God, look Thou down
In pity on this tortured world.
Be near the soldiers on the battlefields,
The sailors out at sea,
The airmen as they soar above the clouds.
Comfort those who mourn for loved ones;
Put wisdom into the hearts and minds
Of those who truly fight for justice;
Soften the stony hearts of evil men;
And, 0 God, speed Thy Peace
To earth again. Amen.









ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Una Marson was born in the parsonage of
a small village in Jamaica, British West Indies.
At home, and later at Hampton, the high
school in her parish to which she won a
scholarship, her favourite study was English
literature.
Leaving high school she took a secretarial post
in Kingston, but soon went on to journalism.
Among her books of poems published in Jamaica
are "Tropic Reveries" and "Heights and
Depths."
She came on a visit to London in 1932.
Through her interest in women's problems she
was asked to speak at an International Women's
Congress in Turkey in 1935. She was also
invited to the League of Nations Session
that year.
Una Marson returned to Jamaica in 1936, had
new poetry published and plays produced,
worked on the staff of a daily paper and started
a local Save the Children Fund. She returned
to London for her paper in 1938 and lectured
about conditions in her own country.
She is now on the staff of the Overseas Service
of the B.B.C., where she organises and produces
programmes to the West Indies.




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