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.

Recordings

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1The Race to Get to Sleep

2Curtains for Gran

3Cousin Lesley's See-through Stomach

4Uncle Ben

5Mr Dahl Supping Soup

6Unfair

7The Lion and the Echo

8Ear-Wings

9The Daft Owl

10Miss Shush

11Someone Stole the...

12Burying the Dog in the Garden

13Mr Ifonly

14A small dragon

15The Nightlight

16Echoes

17The Rose Tattoo

18Geography Lesson

19The Minister for Exams

20Sleep Now

21Little Johnny's Confession

22Come into the city Maud

23Interruption at the opera house

24The Projectionist's Nightmare

25Blake's Purest Daughter

26The right mask

27Into my mirror has walked

28Angel wings

29Sometimes it Happens

30A blade of grass

31The Stolen Orange

32Song for Last Year's Wife

33Simple lyric

34Her Coldness Explained

35meeting again

36The Ambush

37Cinders

38The Armada

39Inessential Things

40How Long is a Man's Life?

41Blindness

Books by Brian Patten