Wednesday, August 1, 2018

366. A Written Portrait of Thomas Sturge Moore

The Poet

Within his eyes are hung lamps of his sanctuary:
A wind, from whence none knows, can set in sway
And spill their light by fits; but yet their ray
Returns, deep-boiled, to its obscurity.

The world as from a dullard turns annoyed
To stir the days with show or deeds or voices;
But if one spies him justly one rejoices,
With silence that the careful lips avoid.

He is a plan, a work of some strange passion
Life has conceived apart from Time's harsh drill,
A thing it hides and cherishes to fashion

At odd and bright moments yo its secret will:
Holy and foolish, ever set apart,
He waits the leisure of his god's free heart.

                                                                 Michael Field

'Michael Field' (Katharine Bradley and Emma Cooper) first met the poet Thomas Sturge Moore in June 1901.

Katharine Bradley and dog Whym Chow

Katharine made a note in her diary:

Moore, the Poet, comes to dine with us

and about his eyes she said:

from illuminated eyes gives worship to his god

The poem dates from around this time, and was published in Wild Honey from Various Thymes (1908). 'Henry' (Edith Cooper) wrote to her sister Amy that Moore was a 'genuine new friend', and that he was 'intensely modern & in no wise decadent'. (See Ivor C. Treby's anthology A Shorter Shirazad. 101 Poems of Michael Field (1999).