Category Archives: Stevie Smith

Stevie Smith (aka Florence Margaret Smith)

     
Stevie Smith (1901-1971) is not an American poet, and while it’s currently National Poetry Month in the U.S. (and I’ve been blogging here about American poets), I still want to feature her poetry.  I’m including her as she’s British, writes in the English language and her poetry is sometimes readily understandable and other times, more obscure.  The impression I formed of her is that of a modern woman.  I found out about her when I saw a feature film about her life entitled “Stevie” starring Glenda Jackson.  I saw the film in the 1980s — it was actually released in 1978 according to imdb.com: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078321/

Stevie was both a poet and novelist.  I found her to be compelling, and while I’d never heard of

Image her before, I was intrigued as she lived something of a working woman’s life in suburban London yet her home life was portrayed as more or less the center of her existence.

In the early 1990s I was given by my stepmother, Jane, a book entitled “The Things that Matter: An Anthology of Women’s Spiritual Poetry.”  There are several poems of Stevie Smith’s included in this anthology.  Here is one of them:

 I do not Speak

I do not ask for mercy for understanding for peace

And in these heavy days I do not ask for release

I do not ask that suffering shall cease.

 

I do not pray to God to let me die

To give an ear attentive to my cry

To pause in his marching and not hurry by.

I do not ask for anything I do not speak

I do not question and I do not seek

I used to in the day when I was weak.

 

Now I am strong and lapped in sorrow

As in a coat of magic mail and borrow

From Time today and care not for tomorrow.

(published in her first collection of poems, “A Good Time Was Had By All”, 1937)