Virginia woolf poems
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All my senses are taut as the smell of violets breaks over me and beckons. I feel guilty and cold. Beneath the black boughs I see moths rearing among flashing yellow lights. Blistered by its red melody, I reel. The darkness has broken me. The crack in my body is screaming. Every moment in this abolished world Is unreal. Light glares its hostility. You can use this article to stir discussion in your litttle poetry community. Share this with other enthusiasts and poetry lovers. Your email address will not be published.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Skip to content. When rivers and lakes Solidify into ice… December skates in Herstory, Not History She wanted to buy some flowers but drowned herself instead, Drifting along the ebbing flow of time, with warm Water cracking her slim figure and airless lungs. I think, too, of virginia woolf, How she drowned herself in a lake; I, too, feel swallowed in a gulf Of swirling sadness that could take Me to my death!
Their tongues Cut; I am derided. I began to resent Emily, Anne, and Charlotte—my old friends—with a terrifying passion. They were not only talented; they were brave, a trait I admired more than anything but couldn’t seem to possess.
The world that raised these women hadn’t allowed them to write, yet they had spun fiery novels in spite of all the odds. Meanwhile, I was failing with all the odds tipped in my favor. Here I was, living out Virginia Woolf’s wildest feminist fantasy. I was in a room of my own. The world was no longer saying, “Write? What’s the good of your writing? The people are not characters, there is no plot in the usual sense.
What can you bring to bear: verisimilitude — to what? You can merely say over and over that it is very good, very beautiful, that when you were reading it you were happy. Paul’s, it is still more rash to go home alone with a poet.
It is trembling on the edge. A little less – and it would lose its poetry. A little more – and it would be over into the abyss, and be dull and arty. It is her greatest book.
What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time’s passage without the fear that you’ve just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant? You’ll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being. I love children, but what if I don’t have any? What kind of person does that make me? Virginia Woolf wrote, “Across the broad continent of a woman’s life falls the shadow of a sword.
Nothing follows a regular course. Bury your fangs in my flesh. Tear me asunder. I sob, I sob. It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable—now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now a daffodil in the sun. Life, she thought, but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private, which she shared neither with her children nor with her husband.
Memory runs her needle in and out, up and down, hither and thither. The sun rose and sank. The lover loved and went. And what the poets said in rhyme, the young translated into practice.
After quarrelling and reconciliation I need privacy—to be alone with you, to set this hubbub in order. For I am as neat as a cat in my habits. One drifts apart. You have been, in every way, all that anyone could be.
We have nothing to give them. They love reading. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness. I have to bang my head against some hard door to call myself back to the body. Different people draw different words from me. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. When the shriveled skin of the ordinary is stuffed out with meaning, it satisfies the senses amazingly. Bluebellleda : it’s such a heartbreak to read virginia woolf’s farewell note to her husband.
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Virginia woolf poems
Virginia Woolf | some people go to priests, others to poetry | deep quotes | beautiful words to live by | writing quotes | poetry. Mais informações. Virginia Woolf, July You know, Ginia,. that’s what your dad called you,. I could knock you off your feet if l had to. as I catch you in a state of.
– Virginia woolf poems
The crack in my body is screaming. This is an incredible place: oppressive and red in its intensity. Every moment in this abolished world is unreal. Light glares its hostility and metal flowers quiver with cold. I do not have a normal body here; I have lost the appearance of somebody whole and only feel a prickly blankness. These 9 weeks give one a plunge into deep waters Psychiatry had little to offer Woolf, but she recognised that writing was one of the behaviours that enabled her to cope with her illness:  “The only way I keep afloat Directly I stop working I feel that I am sinking down, down.
And as usual, I feel that if I sink further I shall reach the truth. Throughout her life, Woolf struggled, without success, to find meaning in her illness: on the one hand, an impediment, on the other, something she visualised as an essential part of who she was, and a necessary condition of her art. Leonard Woolf relates how during the 30 years they were married, they consulted many doctors in the Harley Street area, and although they were given a diagnosis of neurasthenia , he felt they had little understanding of the causes or nature.
The proposed solution was simple—as long as she lived a quiet life without any physical or mental exertion, she was well. On the other hand, any mental, emotional, or physical strain resulted in a reappearance of her symptoms, beginning with a headache, followed by insomnia and thoughts that started to race. Her remedy was simple: to retire to bed in a darkened room, eat, and drink plenty of milk, following which the symptoms slowly subsided.
Modern scholars, including her nephew and biographer, Quentin Bell ,  have suggested her breakdowns and subsequent recurring depressive periods were influenced by the sexual abuse which she and her sister Vanessa were subjected to by their half-brothers George and Gerald Duckworth which Woolf recalls in her autobiographical essays ” A Sketch of the Past ” and “22 Hyde Park Gate” see Sexual abuse.
Biographers point out that when Stella died in , there was no counterbalance to control George’s predation, and his nighttime prowling. Virginia describes him as her first lover, “The old ladies of Kensington and Belgravia never knew that George Duckworth was not only father and mother, brother and sister to those poor Stephen girls; he was their lover also. It is likely that other factors also played a part. It has been suggested that they include genetic predisposition , for both trauma and family history have been implicated in bipolar disorder.
Many of Virginia’s symptoms, including persistent headache, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety, resembled those of her father’s. Virginia herself hinted that her illness was related to how she saw the repressed position of women in society, when she wrote in A Room of One’s Own that had Shakespeare had a sister of equal genius, she “would certainly have gone crazed, shot herself, or ended her days in some lonely cottage outside the village, half witch, half wizard, feared and mocked at”.
These inspirations emerged from what Woolf referred to as her lava of madness, describing her time at Burley    in a letter to Ethel Smyth :.
As an experience, madness is terrific I can assure you, and not to be sniffed at; and in its lava I still find most of the things I write about. It shoots out of one everything shaped, final, not in mere driblets, as sanity does. And the six months—not three—that I lay in bed taught me a good deal about what is called oneself.
Thomas Caramagno  and others,  in discussing her illness, oppose the “neurotic-genius” way of looking at mental illness, where creativity and mental illness are conceptualised as linked rather than antithetical. After completing the manuscript of her last novel posthumously published , Between the Acts ,  Woolf fell into a depression similar to one which she had earlier experienced.
The onset of World War II, the destruction of her London home during the Blitz , and the cool reception given to her biography  of her late friend Roger Fry all worsened her condition until she was unable to work. She held fast to her pacifism and criticised her husband for wearing what she considered to be “the silly uniform of the Home Guard”.
After World War II began, Woolf’s diary indicates that she was obsessed with death, which figured more and more as her mood darkened.
Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do.
You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight it any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work.
And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that—everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.
Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.
I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. Woolf is considered to be one of the more important 20th century novelists.
The growth of feminist criticism in the s helped re-establish her reputation. Virginia submitted her first article in , to a competition in Tit-Bits.
Although it was rejected, this shipboard romance by the 8-year-old would presage her first novel 25 years later, as would contributions to the Hyde Park News , such as the model letter “to show young people the right way to express what is in their hearts”, a subtle commentary on her mother’s legendary matchmaking. Violet Dickinson introduced her to Mrs. Invited to submit a 1,word article, Virginia sent Lyttelton a review of W. Woolf would go on to publish novels and essays as a public intellectual to both critical and popular acclaim.
Much of her work was self-published through the Hogarth Press. Her novels are highly experimental: a narrative, frequently uneventful and commonplace, is refracted—and sometimes almost dissolved—in the characters’ receptive consciousness. Intense lyricism and stylistic virtuosity fuse to create a world overabundant with auditory and visual impressions.
Her first novel, The Voyage Out ,  was published in at the age of 33, by her half-brother’s imprint, Gerald Duckworth and Company Ltd. This novel was originally titled Melymbrosia , but Woolf repeatedly changed the draft. An earlier version of The Voyage Out has been reconstructed by Woolf scholar Louise DeSalvo and is now available to the public under the intended title. DeSalvo argues that many of the changes Woolf made in the text were in response to changes in her own life.
In the novel are hints of themes that would emerge in later work, including the gap between preceding thought and the spoken word that follows, and the lack of concordance between expression and underlying intention, together with how these reveal to us aspects of the nature of love. The plot centres on the Ramsay family’s anticipation of and reflection upon a visit to a lighthouse and the connected familial tensions. One of the primary themes of the novel is the struggle in the creative process that beset painter Lily Briscoe while she struggles to paint in the midst of the family drama.
The novel is also a meditation upon the lives of a nation’s inhabitants in the midst of war, and of the people left behind. Orlando: A Biography  is one of Virginia Woolf’s lightest novels. A parodic biography of a young nobleman who lives for three centuries without ageing much past thirty but who does abruptly turn into a woman , the book is in part a portrait of Woolf’s lover Vita Sackville-West.
In Orlando , the techniques of historical biographers are being ridiculed; the character of a pompous biographer is being assumed for it to be mocked.
Flush: A Biography  is a part-fiction, part-biography of the cocker spaniel owned by Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The book is written from the dog’s point of view. In the play, Flush is on stage for much of the action. The Years ,  traces the history of the genteel Pargiter family from the s to the “present day” of the mids.
The novel had its origin in a lecture Woolf gave to the National Society for Women’s Service in , an edited version of which would later be published as “Professions for Women”. She soon jettisoned the theoretical framework of her “novel-essay” and began to rework the book solely as a fictional narrative, but some of the non-fiction material she first intended for this book was later used in Three Guineas Moore , among others towards doctrinaire rationalism, it is not a simple recapitulation of the coterie’s ideals.
Woolf’s fiction has been studied for its insight into many themes including war, shell shock, witchcraft, and the role of social class in contemporary modern British society. In her essay Am I a Snob? She concluded she was, and subsequent critics and supporters have tried to deal with the dilemma of being both elite and a social critic.
The sea is a recurring motif in Woolf’s work. Noting Woolf’s early memory of listening to waves break in Cornwall, Katharine Smyth writes in The Paris Review that “the radiance [of] cresting water would be consecrated again and again in her writing, saturating not only essays, diaries, and letters but also Jacob’s Room , The Waves , and To the Lighthouse.
Muscogiuri explains that “seascapes, sailing, diving and the sea itself are aspects of nature and of human beings’ relationship with it which frequently inspired Virginia Woolf’s writing.
Despite the considerable conceptual difficulties, given Woolf’s idiosyncratic use of language,  her works have been translated into over 50 languages. Virginia Woolf researched the life of her great-aunt, the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron , publishing her findings in an essay titled “Pattledom” ,  and later in her introduction to her edition of Cameron’s photographs. Finally it was performed on 18 January at the studio of her sister, Vanessa Bell on Fitzroy Street in Freshwater is a short three act comedy satirising the Victorian era , only performed once in Woolf’s lifetime.
Both Cameron and Woolf fought against the class and gender dynamics of Victorianism  and the play shows links to both To the Lighthouse and A Room of One’s Own that would follow. Woolf wrote a body of autobiographical work and more than essays and reviews,  some of which, like A Room of One’s Own were of book length. Not all were published in her lifetime. Shortly after her death, Leonard Woolf produced an edited edition of unpublished essays titled The Moment and other Essays ,  published by the Hogarth Press in Many of these were originally lectures that she gave,  and several more volumes of essays followed, such as The Captain’s Death Bed: and other essays Among Woolf’s non-fiction works, one of the best known is A Room of One’s Own ,  a book-length essay.
Considered a key work of feminist literary criticism, it was written following two lectures she delivered on “Women and Fiction” at Cambridge University the previous year. In it, she examines the historical disempowerment women have faced in many spheres, including social, educational and financial.
One of her more famous dicta is contained within the book “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”. Much of her argument “to show you how I arrived at this opinion about the room and the money” is developed through the “unsolved problems” of women and fiction writing to arrive at her conclusion, although she claimed that was only “an opinion upon one minor point”.
She contrasted these women who accepted a deferential status with Jane Austen , who wrote entirely as a woman. Michel Lackey argues that a major influence on Woolf, from onward, was Russian literature and Woolf adopted many of its aesthetic conventions. In a essay, she praised Thoreau for his statement “The millions are awake enough for physical labor, but only one in hundreds of millions is awake enough to a poetic or divine life.
To be awake is to be alive. In her lifetime, Woolf was outspoken on many topics that were considered controversial, some of which are now considered progressive, others regressive. On the other hand, she has been criticised for views on class and race in her private writings and published works. Like many of her contemporaries, some of her writing is now considered offensive. As a result, she is considered polarising, a revolutionary feminist and socialist hero or a purveyor of hate speech.
Works such as A Room of One’s Own  and Three Guineas  are frequently taught as icons of feminist literature in courses that would be very critical of some of her views expressed elsewhere. Virginia Woolf was born into a non-religious family and is regarded, along with her fellow Bloomsberries E. Forster and G. Moore , as a humanist. Both her parents were prominent agnostic atheists. Her father, Leslie Stephen , had become famous in polite society for his writings which expressed and publicised reasons to doubt the veracity of religion.
Stephen was also President of the West London Ethical Society , an early humanist organisation, and helped to found the Union of Ethical Societies in Woolf’s mother, Julia Stephen , wrote the book Agnostic Women , which argued that agnosticism defined here as something more like atheism could be a highly moral approach to life.
Woolf was a critic of Christianity. In a letter to Ethel Smyth , she gave a scathing denunciation of the religion, seeing it as self-righteous “egotism” and stating “my Jew [Leonard] has more religion in one toenail—more human love, in one hair”. She thought there were no Gods; no one was to blame; and so she evolved this atheist’s religion of doing good for the sake of goodness. Hermione Lee cites a number of extracts from Woolf’s writings that many, including Lee, would consider offensive, and these criticisms can be traced back as far as those of Wyndham Lewis and Q.
Leavis in the s and s. Some authors [ who? Woolf’s tendentious expressions, including prejudicial feelings against disabled people, have often been the topic of academic criticism: . The first quotation is from a diary entry of September and runs: “The fact is the lower classes are detestable. Often accused of antisemitism ,  the treatment of Judaism and Jews by Woolf is far from straightforward.
For instance, she described some of the Jewish characters in her work in terms that suggested they were physically repulsive or dirty. On the other hand, she could criticise her own views: “How I hated marrying a Jew — how I hated their nasal voices and their oriental jewellery, and their noses and their wattles — what a snob I was: for they have immense vitality, and I think I like that quality best of all” Letter to Ethel Smyth Leonard, “a penniless Jew from Putney”, lacked the material status of the Stephens and their circle.
While travelling on a cruise to Portugal, she protested at finding “a great many Portuguese Jews on board, and other repulsive objects, but we keep clear of them”. Some believe that Woolf and her husband Leonard came to despise and fear the s fascism and antisemitism. Her book Three Guineas  was an indictment of fascism and what Woolf described as a recurring propensity among patriarchal societies to enforce repressive societal mores by violence.
She reluctantly complied. The Bloomsbury Group held very progressive views regarding sexuality and rejected the austere strictness of Victorian society. The majority of its members were homosexual or bisexual.
Woolf had several affairs with women, the most notable being with Vita Sackville-West , which inspired Orlando: A Biography. The two of them remained lovers for a decade and stayed close friends for the rest of Woolf’s life.
In regards to relationships with men, Woolf was averse to sex with them, blaming the sexual abuse perpetrated upon her and her sister by her half-brothers when they were children and teens. This is one of the reasons she initially declined marriage proposals from her future husband, Leonard.
She even went as far as to tell him that she was not attracted to him, but that she did love him and finally agreed to marriage. For I am as neat as a cat in my habits. We must oppose the waste and deformity of the world , its crowds eddying round and round disgorged and trampling.
One must slip paper-knives , even, exactly through the pages of novels , and tie up packets of letters neatly with green silk , and brush up the cinders with a hearth broom. Everything must be done to rebuke the horror of deformity. Let us read writers of Roman severity and virtue; let us seek perfection through the sand. Yes, but I love to slip the virtue and severity of the noble Romans under the grey light of your eyes, and dancing grasses and summer breezes and the laughter and shouts of boys at play—of naked cabin-boys squirting each other with hosepipes on the decks of ships.
Hence I am not a disinterested seeker, like Louis, after perfection through the sand. Colours always stain the page; clouds pass over it. And the poem , I think, is only your voice speaking. Alcibiades, Ajax, Hector and Percival are also you. They loved riding, they risked their lives wantonly, they were not great readers either. But you are not Ajax or Percival. They did not wrinkle their noses and scratch their foreheads with your precise gesture.
You are you. That is what consoles me for the lack of many things— I am ugly , I am weak — and the depravity of the world, and the flight of youth and Percival’s death , and bitterness and rancour and envies innumerable.
She danced in flecked with diamonds light as dust. And I am squat, Bernard, I am short. I have eyes that look close to the ground and see insects in the grass. The yellow warmth in my side turned to stone when I saw Jinny kiss Louis. I shall eat grass and die in a ditch in the brown water where dead leaves have rotted. Her shoulder-blades meet across her back like the wings of a small butterfly. And as she stares at the chalk figures, her mind lodges in those white circles , it steps through those white loops into emptiness , alone.
They have no meaning for her. She has no answer for them. She has no body as the others have. And I, who speak with an Australian accent, whose father is a banker in Brisbane, do not fear her as I fear the others.
They want a plot, do they? They want a reason? It is not enough for them, this ordinary scene. It is not enough to wait for the thing to be said as if it were written ; to see the sentence lay its dab of clay precisely on the right place, making character; to perceive, suddenly, some group in outline against the sky. Yet if they want violence , I have seen death and murder and suicide all in one room. One comes in, one goes out. There are sobs on the staircase.
I have heard threads broken and knots tied and the quiet stitching of white cambric going on and on on the knees of a woman. Why ask, like Louis, for a reason, or fly like Rhoda to some far grove and part the leaves of the laurels and look for statues? They say that one must beat one’s wings against the storm in the belief that beyond this welter the sun shines; the sun falls sheer into pools that are fledged with willows.
Here it is November ; the poor hold out matchboxes in wind-bitten fingers. They say truth is to be found there entire, and virtue , that shuffles along here, down blind alleys, is to be had there perfect. Rhoda flies with her neck outstretched and blind fanatic eyes, past us.
Louis, now so opulent , goes to his attic window among the blistered roofs and gazes where she has vanished, but must sit down in his office among the typewriters and the telephone and work it all out for our instruction, for our regeneration , and the reform of an unborn world. Let us inhabit the underworld. Let us take possession of our secret territory, which is lit by pendant currants like candelabra, shining red on one side, black on the other.
Here, Jinny, if we curl up close, we can sit under the canopy of currant leaves and watch the censers swing.
This is our universe. The others pass down the carriage-drive. The skirts of Miss Hudson and Miss Curry sweep by like candle extinguishers.
Here come warm gusts of decomposing leaves, of rotting vegetation. We are in a swamp now; in a malarial jungle. There is an elephant white with maggots , killed by an arrow shot dead in its eye.
The bright eyes of hopping birds—eagles, vultures —are apparent. They take us for fallen trees. They pick at a worm —that is a hooded cobra—and leave it with a festering brown scar to be mauled by lions. This is our world , lit with crescents and stars of light ; and great petals half transparent block the openings like purple windows. Everything is strange.
Things are huge and very small. The stalks of flowers are thick as an oak tree. Leaves are high as the domes of vast cathedrals. We are giants , lying here, who can make forests quiver. So she would still find herself arguing in St. James’s Park, still making out that she had been right— and she had too—not to marry him.
For in marriage a little licence, a little independence there must be between people living together day in day out in the same house; which Richard gave her , and she him. Where was he this morning for instance? Some committee, she never asked what.
But with Peter everything had to be shared; everything gone into. And it was intolerable , and when it came to that scene in the little garden by the fountain, she had to break with him or they would have been destroyed , both of them ruined , she was convinced ; though she had borne about with her for years like an arrow sticking in her heart the grief , the anguish ; and then the horror of the moment when some one told her at a concert that he had married a woman met on the boat going to India!
Never should she forget all that! Cold , heartless , a prude, he called her. Never could she understand how he cared. But those Indian women did presumably— silly , pretty, flimsy nincompoops. And she wasted her pity. For he was quite happy , he assured her—perfectly happy, though he had never done a thing that they talked of; his whole life had been a failure. It made her angry still. I am glutted with sensations.
I am exhausted with the strain and the long , long time —twenty-five minutes , half an hour—that I have held myself alone outside the machine. I grow numb ; I grow stiff. How shall I break up this numbness which discredits my sympathetic heart? There are others suffering— multitudes of people suffering. Neville suffers. He loved Percival. But I can no longer endure extremities; I want someone with whom to laugh , with whom to yawn, with whom to remember how he scratched his head; someone he was at ease with and liked not Susan, whom he loved , but Jinny rather.
In her room also I could do penance. I could ask , Did he tell you how I refused him when he asked me to go to Hampton Court that day? Those are the thoughts that will wake me leaping in anguish in the middle of the night —the crimes for which one would do penance in all the markets of the world bareheaded; that one did not go to Hampton Court that day. But when they tail off absurdly and he gapes, twiddling a bit of string , I feel my own solitude.
He sees everyone with blurred edges. Hence I cannot talk to him of Percival. I cannot expose my absurd and violent passion to his sympathetic understanding. It too would make a ” story. To whom I can expose the urgency of my own passion? Louis is too cold , too universal. There is nobody here among these grey arches , and moaning pigeons, and cheerful games and tradition and emulation, all so skilfully organized to prevent feeling alone. Yet I am struck still as I walk by sudden premonitions of what is to come.
Yesterday, passing the open door leading into the private garden, I saw Fenwick with his mallet raised. The steam from the tea-urn rose in the middle of the lawn. There were banks of blue flowers.
Then suddenly descended upon me the obscure, the mystic sense of adoration, of completeness that triumphed over chaos. Nobody saw my poised and intent figure as I stood at the open door. Nobody guessed the need I had to offer my being to one god ; and perish, and disappear. His mallet descended; the vision broke. The hall of the house was cool as a vault. Dalloway raised her hand to her eyes , and , as the maid shut the door to, and she heard the swish of Lucy’s skirts , she felt like a nun who has left the world and feels fold round her the familiar veils and the response to old devotions.
The cook whistled in the kitchen. She heard the click of the typewriter. It was her life, and, bending her head over the hall table, she bowed beneath the influence, felt blessed and purified , saying to herself, as she took the pad with the telephone message on it, how moments like this are buds on the tree of life, flowers of darkness they are, she thought as if some lovely rose had blossomed for her eyes only ; not for a moment did she believe in God ; but all the more, she thought, taking up the pad, must one repay in daily life to servants, yes, to dogs and canaries , above all to Richard her husband, who was the foundation of it—of the gay sounds, of the green lights , of the cook even whistling , for Mrs.
Walker was Irish and whistled all day long—one must pay back from this secret deposit of exquisite moments, she thought, lifting the pad, while Lucy stood by her, trying to explain how. Dalloway Spillway. For they might be parted for hundreds of years, she and Peter; she never wrote a letter and his were dry sticks; but suddenly it would come over her , If he were with me now what would he say?
James’s Park on a fine morning —indeed they did. But Peter— however beautiful the day might be, and the trees and the grass, and the little girl in pink —Peter never saw a thing of all that. He would put on his spectacles, if she told him to; he would look. It was the state of the world that interested him; Wagner, Pope’s poetry , people’s characters eternally , and the defects of her own soul.
How he scolded her! How they argued! She would marry a Prime Minister and stand at the top of a staircase; the perfect hostess he called her she had cried over it in her bedroom , she had the makings of the perfect hostess, he said. Someone moves. Did I raise my arm? Did I look? Did my yellow scarf with the strawberry spots float and signal?
He has broken from the wall. He follows. I am pursued through the forest. All is rapt , all is nocturnal, and the parrots go screaming through the branches. All my senses stand erect. Now I feel the roughness of the fibre of the curtain through which I push; now I feel the cold iron railing and its blistered paint beneath my palm.
Now the cool tide of darkness breaks its waters over me. We are out of doors. Night opens; night traversed by wandering moths ; night hiding lovers roaming to adventure. I smell roses; I smell violets ; I see red and blue just hidden. Now gravel is under my shoes; now grass. Up reel the tall backs of houses guilty with lights.
All London is uneasy with flashing lights. Now let us sing our love song—Come, come, come. Now my gold signal is like a dragonfly flying taut.
Jug, jug, jug, I sing like the nightingale whose melody is crowded in the too narrow passage of her throat. Now I hear crash and rending of boughs and the crack of antlers as if the beasts of the forest were all hunting, all rearing high and plunging down among the thorns. One has pierced me. One is driven deep within me. There is only a thin sheet between me now and the infinite depths.
The lumps in the mattress soften beneath me. We stumble up—we stumble on. My path has been up and up, towards some solitary tree with a pool beside it on the very top. I have sliced the waters of beauty in the evening when the hills close themselves like birds’ wings folded. I have picked sometimes a red carnation , and wisps of hay. I have sunk alone on the turf and fingered some old bone and thought: When the wind stoops to brush this height , may there be nothing found but a pinch of dust.
The strange thing, on looking back, was the purity , the integrity , of her feeling for Sally. It was not like one’s feeling for a man. It was completely disinterested , and besides, it had a quality which could only exist between women, between women just grown up. It was protective , on her side; sprang from a sense of being in league together , a presentiment of something that was bound to part them they spoke of marriage always as a catastrophe , which led to this chivalry , this protective feeling which was much more on her side than Sally’s.
For in those days she was completely reckless ; did the most idiotic things out of bravado ; bicycled round the parapet on the terrace; smoked cigars. Absurd , she was—very absurd. But the charm was overpowering , to her at least, so that she could remember standing in her bedroom at the top of the house holding the hot-water can in her hands and saying aloud, ” She is beneath this roof….
She is beneath this roof! But I will duck behind her to hide it , for I am not here. Other people have faces; Susan and Jinny have faces; they are here. Their world is the real world. The things they lift are heavy. They say Yes, they say No; whereas I shift and change and am seen through in a second. If they meet a housemaid she looks at them without laughing.
But she laughs at me. They know what to say if spoken to. They laugh really ; they get angry really ; while I have to look first and do what other people do when they have done it. Dalloway The Believer. She frowned ; she stamped her foot. She must go back again to Septimus since it was almost time for them to be going to Sir William Bradshaw. She must go back and tell him , go back to him sitting there on the green chair under the tree , talking to himself, or to that dead man Evans, whom she had only seen once for a moment in the shop.
He had seemed a nice quiet man ; a great friend of Septimus’s, and he had been killed in the War. But such things happen to every one. Every one has friends who were killed in the War.
Every one gives up something when they marry. She had given up her home. She had come to live here, in this awful city.
But Septimus let himself think about horrible things, as she could too, if she tried. He had grown stranger and stranger. He said people were talking behind the bedroom walls. Filmer thought it odd. He saw things too—he had seen an old woman’s head in the middle of a fern.
Yet he could be happy when he chose. They went to Hampton Court on top of a bus , and they were perfectly happy.
All the little red and yellow flowers were out on the grass , like floating lamps he said, and talked and chattered and laughed , making up stories. But going home he was perfectly quiet—perfectly reasonable. He would argue with her about killing themselves; and explain how wicked people were ; how he could see them making up lies as they passed in the street. He knew all their thoughts, he said; he knew everything. He knew the meaning of the world , he said. I have torn them off and screwed them up so that they no longer exist , save as a weight in my side.
They have been crippled days, like moths with shrivelled wings unable to fly. There are only eight days left. In eight days’ time I shall get out of the train and stand on the platform at six twenty five. Then my freedom will unfurl , and all these restrictions that wrinkle and shrivel— hours and order and discipline, and being here and there exactly at the right moment —will crack asunder. Out the day will spring , as I open the carriage-door and see my father in his old hat and gaiters.
I shall tremble. I shall burst into tears. Then next morning I shall get up at dawn. I shall let myself out by the kitchen door.
I shall walk on the moor. The great horses of the phantom riders will thunder behind me and stop suddenly. I shall see the swallow skim the grass. Atop his imagined coffin, a snapdragon And I have a million reasons To discontinue And disregard. Ode To Virginia Home Floating under the surface, stones weighting her body, gremlins and goblins were hobbling her soul; she’s full to o’erflowing, her faculties failing, she swam with the fishes and found Five years after their rescue Of troops beaten back in Mons, She danced with them on the downs, Their forms like kites she reeled in With clouds, their haloes askew On waves of green escarpments Breaking into the sea.
Beech-brown The combes she looked down upon While the angels held up her skirts, Rode the rhythms of her walking feet — Their wings no longer torn. In a host they balanced, on the alert For ancient armies in retreat Squatting in hunched hawthorns. One year after the armistice In the steep slopes of her temperament She kept them at her side, to banish The simpering angels of the house At whom, with the sedge, they would hiss.
Whenever an alien shadow bent Over her page as she wrote, a swish Of wings dipped in ink would douse Its creeping insistence, despatch it Into tumuli turfed over, into dew ponds.