The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Tag: 20th century poetry

“In la Sua Volontate è nostra Pace” by Alexander Robertson


Alexander Robertson (source)

Robertson, born in 1882, was a Scottish war poet. Primarily a history teacher and lecturer during his 20s and early 30s, he took up a private soldier position in 1914, and fell in action at the attack on Serre in 1916. Robertson’s former teacher, P. Hume Brown, explains in the preface to Robertson’s second, and last, book of verses, Last Poems of Alexander Robertson, that Robertson’s poems “are the vivid presentment of the man as [his friends] knew him. They display all his intellectual eagerness, his consuming desire ‘to know the best that has been thought and said in the world'” (10). Robertson’s verses indicate what Brown describes as being “reflective”, “not decorative”, and “plain and direct” poetry (10). His books are apparently scarce, so expect more of his works from this second volume of poetry on this blog.

In la Sua Volontate è nostra Pace (DANTE)
By Alexander Robertson
From Last Poems of Alexander Robertson, 1918

I read these prayers a tender thought hath sent,—
For warriors dead and warriors sought of Death,
For stricken, anxious hearts that gave them breath;—
Commending all to the Omniscient.

And reading them, I hear an accent kind,
Even as the very voice of gentleness,
Or as of one who to the utmost stress
And weariness of living, is resigned,

Sure of their final passing. And I see
A church dim-lit and men and women still,
Soothed to the quiet acceptance of His Will
Who orders all things in Eternity;

And, as the great Florentine said, they find
Their peace in this obedience to His Mind.

“Velvet Shoes” by Elinor Wylie

Wylie’s dainty poem, “Velvet Shoes,” rouses hushed contemplation by its dreamy, ethereal narrative. Subtle evocation is surely what has made this poem a classic to our contemporary readers.

Velvet Shoes

Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.

I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as white cow’s milk,
More beautiful
Than the breast of a gull.

We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.

We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
On white silence below.
We shall walk in the snow.

In the case that I don’t transcribe a work, I source my borrowings. This transcription is borrowed from the following source, and credit goes to their transcribers.