A Fine Start to National Poetry Month

Yes, a burden has lifted off my soul. I’ve returned to my non-Swiftian self. I don’t know if I have a non-Swiftian self, but when I asked (rhetorically) why I was such a social reject, my husband kindly explained to me, as though to a child whose toy the petty girl from next door had broken, that the world isn’t in a Swiftian mood right now. Nor does it desire Carollesque satire. And don’t even think about channelling Mencken. So I’ve retreated from satire and politics.

Happily, it’s National Poetry Month, and I have my old Mary Leapor poem, The Short, Sad Life of Mary Leapor, posted here. If you click over, you’ll learn a little more about Leapor. But if you don’t want to, here’s a short bio: Mary Leapor was an 18th C poet who was also a servant. She died at age 24, leaving no other legacy but her published poetry. She wrote about the plight of women, often in response to male poets. I wish modern day people still argued back and forth through published verse, as they did in the 18th C. But, alas, either the world is too “nice” these days, or it hasn’t learned to write in verse. I’ll leave you with a snippet from her An Epistle to a Lady. Kudos to you if you can tell me what 18th C male poet she was responding to.

You see I’m learned, and I shew’t the more,
That none may wonder when they find me poor.
Yet Mira dreams, as slumbring Poets may,
And rolls in Treasures till the breaking Day:
While Books and Pictures in bright Order rise,
And painted Parlours swim before her Eyes:
Till the shrill Clock impertinently rings,
And the soft Visions move their shining Wings:
Then Mira wakes,– her Pictures are no more,
And through her Fingers slides the vanish’d Ore.
Convinc’d too soon, her Eye unwilling falls
On the blue Curtains and the dusty Walls:
She wakes, alas! to Business and to Woes,
To sweep her Kitchen, and to mend her Clothes.

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5 comments

  1. Jill, thank you again for allowing me to print your poem. I basically discovered Mary by accident, but am glad I did. I hope our small efforts will help others to discover her also.

  2. “I wish modern day people still argued back and forth through published verse, as they did in the 18th C. But, alas, either the world is too “nice” these days, or it hasn’t learned to write in verse.”

    They do; it’s called Rap.

    1. I know rappers write political commentary, but do they argue about such things back and forth? I’d be interested in listening to rap arguments. I wonder if poetry slammers ever do this. I hadn’t thought about it, but they might.

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