POEMS by Katherine Mansfield
With an introductory note by John Middleton Murry
“Damn Katherine! Why can’t I be the only woman who knows how to write?”
Katherine Mansfield was, most of all, a passionate spirit. Her poems are sometimes traditional, sometimes outbursts of emotion, sometimes experiments akin to prose poems. In all she manages a strange alchemy; ordinary words are somehow transformed into powerful arrows of meaning.
Into the world you sent her, mother,
Fashioned her body of coral and foam,
Combed a wave in her hair’s warm smother,
And drove her away from home.
In the dark of the night she crept to the town
And under a doorway she laid her down,
This little blue child in the foam-fringed gown.
And never a sister and never a brother
To hear her call, to answer her cry.
Her face shone out from her hair’s warm smother
Like a moonkin up in the sky.
She sold her corals ; she sold her foam ;
Her rainbow heart like a singing shell
Broke in her body : she crept back home.
Peace, go back to the world, my daughter,
Daughter, go back to the darkling land ;
There is nothing here but sad sea water,
And a handful of sifting sand.
The Sea-Child 1911
These 69 poems were collected together and published in 1923, just after Katherine Mansfield’s death. Many had never been published before; others only in magazines. John Middleton Murry explains in his introductory note that they are effusions of what he calls her ‘exquisite spirit,’ the uniqueness of which guarantees Mansfield her permanent place in twentieth century literature.
PUBLICATION : March 25, 2016
ISBN : 978-0-9944306-4-9 mid-size hardcover
ISBN : 978-0-9944306-5-6 ebook
PRICE : US$19.95 / GBP 10.95 / AU$21.95 mid-size hardcover