Image by Caroline Forbes

Blake's Purest Daughter

Brian Patten


Blake's Purest Daughter

Brian Patten


Poem introduction

Here's a poem called 'Blake's Purest Daughter', an elegy for Stevie Smith.

Blake's Purest Daughter

Must she always walk with Death, must she?
I went out and asked the sky.
No, it said, no,
She'll do as I do, as I do.
I go on forever.

Must she always walk with Death, must she?
I went and asked the soil.
No, it said, no,
She'll do as I do, as I do.
I will nourish her forever.

Must she always walk with Death?
I listened to the water.
No it said, no,
She'll do as I do, as I do,
I will cleanse her forever.

Must she always walk with Death?
No, said the fire,
She'll burn as I burn, as I burn.
She will be in brilliance forever.

O but I am not Death, said Death slyly,
I am only no longer living.
Only no longer knowing exorbitant grief.
Do not fear me, so many share me.

Sweet Stevie elemental
Free now from the personal,
Through sky and soil
Fire and water
Swim on, Blake's purest daughter!


from Grinning Jack (Flamingo (HarperCollins), 1990), copyright © Brian Patten 1990, used by permission of the author.

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