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Jean Starr Untermeyer: poetry outlived her marriage

She focused on nature and domestic life as her subject matter and self-discipline and loss as her themes

  • Forget-Me-Nots
  • For Amy Lowell
  • We walked through garden closes
  • Languidly, with dragging Sunday feet,
  • And passed down a long pleached alley,
  • And could remember, as one remembers in a fairy tale,
  • Ladies in brocade, and lovers, and musk.
  • We surprised tall dahlias
  • That shrugged and turned scarlet faces to the breeze.
  • Further still we sauntered under old trees that bended with such a dignity
  • But hardly acknowledged our passing
  • Until at last—(and it was like a gift,
  • A treasure lifted from a dream of the past)
  • We came to a pond banded in lindens.
  • The bank curved under its crown of forget-me-nots;
  • They shone like blue jewels from the further shore.
  • And they were free! I could have had them all
  • To gather and to carry in my arms!
  • But I took only a few,
  • Seven blue gems,
  • To set in the gold of my memory.
  • Possession
  • Walk into the world,
  • Go into the places of trade;
  • Go into the smiling country—
  • But go, clad, wrapped closely always,
  • Shielded and sustained,
  • In the visible flame of my love.
  • Let it blaze about you—
  • A glowing armor for all to see;
  • Flashing around your head—
  • A tender and valiant halo.
  • I think there will be many to wonder
  • And many to stand in awe and envy—
  • But surely no one will come too close to you.
  • No one will dare to claim you,—
  • Hand or heart,—
  • As you pass in your shining and terrible garment.
  • Rain
  • I have always hated the rain,
  • And the gloom of grayed skies.
  • But now I think I must always cherish
  • Rain-hung leaf and the misty river;
  • And the friendly screen of dripping green
  • Where eager kisses were shyly given
  • And your pipe-smoke made clouds in our damp, close heaven.
  • The curious laggard passed us by,
  • His wet shoes soughed on the shining walk.
  • And that afternoon was filled with a blurred glory—
  • That afternoon, when we first talked as lovers.
Jean Starr Untermeyer

Jean Starr Untermeyer (1886-1970) was an American poet and the author of six books of poetry. In 1907 she married fellow poet and anthologist Louis Untermeyer – who, when he discovered that she wrote verse, encouraged her to submit them for publication, thus helping her to launch her poetic career. In 1927, the Untermeyers divorced, only to reunite in 1929 after a second marriage of Louis’s failed. The couple would eventually divorce for good in 1933. Starr Untermeyer continued to write verse — typically traditional in form and intricately harmonious in style – focusing on nature and domestic life as her subject matter and self-discipline and loss as her themes.

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Jane Blanchard: in anticipation of All Saints Day

Commemorating The Stations of the Cross
  • Forget-Me-Nots
  • For Amy Lowell
  • We walked through garden closes
  • Languidly, with dragging Sunday feet,
  • And passed down a long pleached alley,
  • And could remember, as one remembers in a fairy tale,
  • Ladies in brocade, and lovers, and musk.
  • We surprised tall dahlias
  • That shrugged and turned scarlet faces to the breeze.
  • Further still we sauntered under old trees that bended with such a dignity
  • But hardly acknowledged our passing
  • Until at last—(and it was like a gift,
  • A treasure lifted from a dream of the past)
  • We came to a pond banded in lindens.
  • The bank curved under its crown of forget-me-nots;
  • They shone like blue jewels from the further shore.
  • And they were free! I could have had them all
  • To gather and to carry in my arms!
  • But I took only a few,
  • Seven blue gems,
  • To set in the gold of my memory.
  • Possession
  • Walk into the world,
  • Go into the places of trade;
  • Go into the smiling country—
  • But go, clad, wrapped closely always,
  • Shielded and sustained,
  • In the visible flame of my love.
  • Let it blaze about you—
  • A glowing armor for all to see;
  • Flashing around your head—
  • A tender and valiant halo.
  • I think there will be many to wonder
  • And many to stand in awe and envy—
  • But surely no one will come too close to you.
  • No one will dare to claim you,—
  • Hand or heart,—
  • As you pass in your shining and terrible garment.
  • Rain
  • I have always hated the rain,
  • And the gloom of grayed skies.
  • But now I think I must always cherish
  • Rain-hung leaf and the misty river;
  • And the friendly screen of dripping green
  • Where eager kisses were shyly given
  • And your pipe-smoke made clouds in our damp, close heaven.
  • The curious laggard passed us by,
  • His wet shoes soughed on the shining walk.
  • And that afternoon was filled with a blurred glory—
  • That afternoon, when we first talked as lovers.
Jean Starr Untermeyer

Jean Starr Untermeyer (1886-1970) was an American poet and the author of six books of poetry. In 1907 she married fellow poet and anthologist Louis Untermeyer – who, when he discovered that she wrote verse, encouraged her to submit them for publication, thus helping her to launch her poetic career. In 1927, the Untermeyers divorced, only to reunite in 1929 after a second marriage of Louis’s failed. The couple would eventually divorce for good in 1933. Starr Untermeyer continued to write verse — typically traditional in form and intricately harmonious in style – focusing on nature and domestic life as her subject matter and self-discipline and loss as her themes.

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