Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Tuesday Poem

Katherine Mansfield on New Zealand


From the other side of the world,
From a little island cradled in the giant sea bosom,
From a little land with no history,
(Making its own history, slowly and clumsily
Piecing together this and that, finding the pattern, solving the problem,
Like a child with a box of bricks),
I, a woman, with the taint of the pioneer in my blood,
Full of a youthful strength that wars with itself and is lawless,
I sing your praises, Magnificent warrior; I proclaim your triumphant battle.

This is from a poem that Katherine wrote to the Polish poet Stanislaw Wyspianski, when she was only 21. Her hymn of praise to the poet became an elegy for her birth country - she wrote most of it while in Germany after her baby was born prematurely and died. I think she was probably homesick.  She wrote the poem in the style of Walt Whitman, with long, declamatory lines and a lyrical rhythm.  It was translated into Polish by her lover Floryan Sobienowski and published in Poland.

For more poems go to  The Tuesday Poem blog.

3 comments:

  1. I feel it's a bit redundant of me to say how great this poem is, nevertheless, an awesome poem from an awesome lady.

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  2. Hmm, some interesting stuff there about how KM viewed NZ and herself - 'taint of the pioneer' eh? Thanks for all this fab KM stuff Kathleen.

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  3. Hope you're enjoying your tour Kathleen. I loved this poem. I have only recently finished The Colour by Rose Tremain (wonderful book for anyone who hasn't already discovered it)- there is something of this poem in the novel - of a land 'making its own history' - the struggle, the pioneers. N.Z is definitely on my list for visiting one of these days.

    Avril x

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