“When I look back I seem to remember singing.
Yet it was always silent in that long warm room.
Impenetrable , those walls , we thought,
Dark with ancient shields. The light
Shone on the head of a girl or young limbs
Spread carelessly. And the low voices
Rose in the silence and were lost as in water.
Yet, for all it was quiet and warm as a hand,
If one of us drew the curtains
A threaded rain blew carelessly outside.
Sometimes a wind crept, swaying the flames,
And set shadows crouching on the walls,
Or a wolf howled in the wide night outside,
And feeling our flesh chilled we drew together.
But for a while the dance went on -
That is how it seems to me now:
Slow forms moving calm through
Pools of light like gold net on the floor.
It might have gone on, dream-like, for ever.
But between one year and the next – a new wind blew ?
The rain rotted the walls at last ?
Wolves’ snouts came thrusting at the fallen beams ?
It is so long ago.
But sometimes I remember the curtained room
And hear the far-off youthful voices singing.”
Fable, a poem 1959 is Copyright Doris Lessing, and is reprinted here by kind permission of Jonathan Clowes Ltd., London , on behalf of Doris Lessing. Olivia Guest from Jonathan Clowes Ltd
Pictured are two books of published poetry by Nobel Laureate and writer Doris Lessing (1919-2013). I am intrigued by each of the books. I thought to add some information on the status of the books and their current locations, but information is quite scanty. Thus I will be blogging the process.
Fourteen Poems by Doris Lessing , published 1959 by Scorpion Press, is unavailable, although I have located a copy in a library in a university library in Dublin.
The Scorpion Press closed in the 1970s, according to this Wikipedia entry. Some articles from the press were obtained by the McFarlin Library, Special Collections at the University of Tulsa. I am adding here the link.
The original link (Lessing’s Scorpion/ Northwood titles) details the names of the Fourteen Poems which were published in 1959,
- Under a Low Cold Sky
- Older Woman to Younger Man (1)
- Older Woman to Younger Man (2)
- Plea for the Hated Dead Woman
- Dark Girl’s Song
- New Man
- Oh Cherry Trees you are too white for my heart’
- In Time of Dryness
The list of poems from The Inpopa Anthology 2002 are:
- In the Long Dark
- The Misfit
- As If They Had Always Known It
- Cave Wolves
- Something Speaks
- The Sky-fire
- The Ice Comes
Thanks to Alison Greenlee, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Tulsa, for information about the Scorpion Press archive.