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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Charlotte Mew: Sea Love


Elaha ohipa (Not Working): Paul Gauguin, 1896, oil on canvas, 65 x 75 cm (Pushkin Museum, Moscow)

Tide be runnin’ the great world over:
  ’Twas only last June month I mind that we
Was thinkin’ the toss and the call in the breast of the lover
  So everlastin’ as the sea.

Heer's the same little fishes that splutter and swim,
  Wi’ the moon’s old glim on the grey, wet sand:
An’ him no more to me nor me to him
  Then the wind goin’ over my hand.

Charlotte Mew (1869-1928): Sea Love, from The Farmer's Bride, 1916

Te Arii Vahine (The Queen of Beauty): Paul Gauguin, 1896, watercolour, 172 x 229 mm (private collection)


TC said...

By this same fine poet:

Charlotte Mew: A Quoi Bon Dire



Thanks for this, Charlotte Mew + Gaugin -- and yes, "tide be runnin'" here too this morning, lots of "wind goin' over my hand" as the next front comes through.


grey rain cloud against invisible plane
of ridge, motion of black pine branches
in foreground, sound of wind in channel

to be is to be from and for,
subject takes up time

to “understand,” as if that
has been, there which

silver line of sun reflected in channel,
sunlit white gull flapping toward ridge

Anonymous said...

that is sweet...!

Mose23 said...

"...the moon's old glim on the grey, wet sand"

In that last stanza, not so much the eternal but a nature indifferent to us and there before us too. The scene lit regardless of anybody's gaze.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

One never tires of setting one's eyes upon lines like these.

TC said...

Thank you, friends one and all.

(Had Charlotte enjoyed such sparkling company, perhaps she would not have had to resort to imbibing Lysol?)

bill sherman said...

Belated season's greetings, Tom....

The usual translation is "The Noble Woman" i.e. (te = the; arii = noble (or high-born); vahine = woman)...

TC said...


Thanks, and the same to you.

As to the Gauguin watercolour, it's a copy the artist made of an earlier oil painting (now in the Hermitage I believe); in various places where its been shown it's been given variant titles, usually either The Queen of Beauty or the Noble Queen. I followed the former as it's more commonly used. Some places use both. As, e.g., The Morgan.

What's of interest to me in the post, as almost always, is the relation between the images and the text. Perhaps a bit unexpected in this case. I did hope so, at any rate.