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T. E. Hulme: an influence on Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost

Six poems from the first Modernist poet

  • Autumn
  • A touch of cold in the Autumn night—
  • I walked abroad,
  • And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
  • Like a red-faced farmer.
  • I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
  • And round about were the wistful stars
  • With white faces like town children.
  • Above the Dock
  • Above the quiet dock in mid night,
  • Tangled in the tall mast’s corded height,
  • Hangs the moon. What seemed so far away
  • Is but a child’s balloon, forgotten after play.

The Embankment

  • (The fantasia of a fallen gentleman on a cold, bitter night.)
  • Once, in finesse of fiddles found I ecstasy, 
  • In the flash of gold heels on the hard pavement. 
  • Now see I 
  • That warmth’s the very stuff of poesy. 
  • Oh, God, make small 
  • The old star-eaten blanket of the sky, 
  • That I may fold it round me and in comfort lie.
  • Mana Aboda
  • Mana Aboda, whose bent form
  • The sky in arched circle is,
  • Seems ever for an unknown grief to mourn,
  • Yet on a day I heard her cry:
  • “I weary of the roses and the singing poets—
  • Josephs all, not tall enough to try.”
  • Susan Ann and Immortality
  • Her head hung down
  • Gazed at earth, fixedly keen,
  • As the rabbit at the stoat
  • Till the earth was sky,
  • Sky that was green,
  • And brown clouds past,
  • Like chestnut leaves arching the ground.
  • The Poet
  • Over a large table, smooth, he leaned in ecstasies,
  • In a dream.
  • He had been to woods, and talked and walked with trees.
  • Had left the world
  • And brought back round globes and stone images,
  • Of gems, colours, hard and definite.
  • With these he played, in a dream,
  • On the smooth table.
T.E. Hulme

T. E. Hulme (1883-1917) was an English essayist and poet whose critical and creative output had a powerful influence on the Modernist poets who helped define 20th-century poetry, including Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost. So great was his influence that he is often considered the first Modernist poet. His ideas about art and literature emerged from his intense interest in the works of French philosopher Henri Bergson, who emphasized immediate sensory experience over rational abstraction for understanding reality and saw in religious belief a greater claim to reality than human experience alone. Hulme’s literary career — a tragic case of what could have been — was cut short when he was killed in action during World War I.

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  • Autumn
  • A touch of cold in the Autumn night—
  • I walked abroad,
  • And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
  • Like a red-faced farmer.
  • I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
  • And round about were the wistful stars
  • With white faces like town children.
  • Above the Dock
  • Above the quiet dock in mid night,
  • Tangled in the tall mast’s corded height,
  • Hangs the moon. What seemed so far away
  • Is but a child’s balloon, forgotten after play.

The Embankment

  • (The fantasia of a fallen gentleman on a cold, bitter night.)
  • Once, in finesse of fiddles found I ecstasy, 
  • In the flash of gold heels on the hard pavement. 
  • Now see I 
  • That warmth’s the very stuff of poesy. 
  • Oh, God, make small 
  • The old star-eaten blanket of the sky, 
  • That I may fold it round me and in comfort lie.
  • Mana Aboda
  • Mana Aboda, whose bent form
  • The sky in arched circle is,
  • Seems ever for an unknown grief to mourn,
  • Yet on a day I heard her cry:
  • “I weary of the roses and the singing poets—
  • Josephs all, not tall enough to try.”
  • Susan Ann and Immortality
  • Her head hung down
  • Gazed at earth, fixedly keen,
  • As the rabbit at the stoat
  • Till the earth was sky,
  • Sky that was green,
  • And brown clouds past,
  • Like chestnut leaves arching the ground.
  • The Poet
  • Over a large table, smooth, he leaned in ecstasies,
  • In a dream.
  • He had been to woods, and talked and walked with trees.
  • Had left the world
  • And brought back round globes and stone images,
  • Of gems, colours, hard and definite.
  • With these he played, in a dream,
  • On the smooth table.
T.E. Hulme

T. E. Hulme (1883-1917) was an English essayist and poet whose critical and creative output had a powerful influence on the Modernist poets who helped define 20th-century poetry, including Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost. So great was his influence that he is often considered the first Modernist poet. His ideas about art and literature emerged from his intense interest in the works of French philosopher Henri Bergson, who emphasized immediate sensory experience over rational abstraction for understanding reality and saw in religious belief a greater claim to reality than human experience alone. Hulme’s literary career — a tragic case of what could have been — was cut short when he was killed in action during World War I.

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