The Gas Fire by Stevie Smith #wintersolstice #TransIsBeautiful #iNeedFeminismBecause

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Near Williamstown, MASS, credit: Peter Rintels.

The gas fire
Seemed quite a friend
Such a funny little humming noise it made
And it had a name, too, carved on it you know,
‘The Persian’. The Persian!
Ha ha ha; ha ha.

Now Agnes, pull yourself together.
You and your friends.

Stevie Smith

Florence Margaret Smith, known as Stevie Smith (20 September 1902 – 7 March 1971) was an English poet and novelist.

“When suffering from the depression to which she was subject all her life she was so consoled by the thought of death as a release that, as she put it, she did not have to commit suicide.

She wrote in several poems that death was “the only god who must come when he is called”. Smith suffered throughout her life from an acute nervousness, described as a mix of shyness and intense sensitivity…

Sylvia Plath became a fan of her poetry and sent Smith a letter in 1962, describing herself as “a desperate Smith-addict.” Plath expressed interest in meeting in person but committed suicide soon after sending the letter…

Smith was celibate for most of her life, although she rejected the idea that she was lonely as a result, alleging that she had a number of intimate relationships with friends and family that kept her fulfilled.

About Not Waving But Drowning: Jannice Thaddeus suggests that the speaker of the poem, like other figures in Smith’s works, changes from male to female as part of a theme of androgyny that exists in many of the poems found in Selected Poems.”

Buy the Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, ed. Fleur Adcock, from an indie bookseller here.

“The sharing of joy… forms a bridge..which can be the basis for understanding.” Love joy :) Audre Lorde #ValentinesDay #BlackLivesMatter

The sharing of joy, whether
physical, emotional,
psychic, or intellectual, forms
a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for
understanding much of what is not shared between
them, and lessens the threat of their difference.

.                                   —

to that piece in each of us that refuses to be silent.

.                                   —

The oppression of women knows no ethnic nor racial boundaries, true, but that does not mean it is identical within those boundaries.

.                                   —

You loved people and you came to depend on their being there. but people
died or changed or went away and it hurt too much. The
only way to avoid that pain was not to love
anyone, and
not to let anyone get too close or too important.

The secret of not being hurt like this again,
I decided,
was never depending on anyone,
never needing, never loving.

It is the last dream of children, to be forever untouched.

Audre Lorde

To sit quietly beside a friend

To sit quietly beside a friend

I would like to come to all my friends
– well, also those who are not my friends-
And ask: Love me the way I am
and don’t make demands. See I can’t
entertain you with lively chat, can’t be
quick-witted, witty nor share confidences
about myself or speak my deepest thoughts.
Should we so wear out ourselves – one for the other?

Let me sit next to you without words, quietly,
wrapped up in our own work, our own thoughts
Or- if you’d like to talk- do speak to me
I will listen– if you good-humouredly
with light chat would keep me company,
I will laugh at your banter and your drollery
I will watch you with an earnest face if loftily, or deeply
or idly you speak of much too serious a thing.

But when I sit quietly like this, and listen
to your words- or to the ticking of the clock-
Or, if I let the silence rustle around us,
-it does whisper so delightfully when folks are still-
When I feel glad to be around you,
then I would like to ask, and break the silence

or with my question interrupt our talk:
Say, are you glad also, that I sit here beside you
And if you say yes, then I will say me too.

And that would be all I wished to know
and all that you would need to know of me.

Jacqueline E. van der Waals

Ik zou tot al mijn vrienden willen gaan
-Ook wel tot hen,die niet mijn vrienden zijn-
En vragen:Heb mij lief,gelijk ik ben
En stel aan mij geen eischen.Zie ik kan
niet onderhoudend praten,niet gevat
Of geestig zijn,en niet vertrouwelijk
vertellen van mijzelf of van mijn ziel…..
Wat zouden we ons vermoeien voor elkaar?

Laat mij maar zwijgend naast U zitten.stil
Verdiept in eigen werk,eigen gedachten.
Of-als gij praten wilt-spreek gij tot mij.
k zal wel luisteren,als gij vriendelijk
Met lichten kout mij onderhouden wilt,
Wel lachen om de grappen.die ge zegt,
Wel ernstig kijken,als ge hoog, of diep,
Of ijdel praat van al te diepe dingen…..

Maar als ik dan zo zwijgend zit,en luister
Naar uw gesprek-of naar het klokgetik-
Of , k laat de stilte ruischen om ons heen,-
-Die ruischt zoo prettig,als de mensen zwijgen-
Als ‘ k mij dan blij in uw nabijheid voel,
Dan zou ik willen vragen, en de stilte

-Of ons gesprek-verbreken met mijn vraag:
,,Zeg. zijt ge ook blij,dat ik hier naast u zit?”
Spraakt gij dan,,Ja”, dan zei ik zacht: Ik ook”

En dat was alles,wat ik weten wou
En al, wat gij van mij behoeft te weten.