Tuesday poem ‘In a London Drawingroom’ by George Eliot

June 18, 2013

In a London Drawingroom

The sky is cloudy, yellowed by the smoke.
For view there are the houses opposite
Cutting the sky with one long line of wall
Like solid fog: far as the eye can stretch
Monotony of surface & of form
Without a break to hang a guess upon.
No bird can make a shadow as it flies,
For all is shadow, as in ways o’erhung
By thickest canvass, where the golden rays
Are clothed in hemp. No figure lingering
Pauses to feed the hunger of the eye
Or rest a little on the lap of life.
All hurry on & look upon the ground,
Or glance unmarking at the passers by
The wheels are hurrying too, cabs, carriages
All closed, in multiplied identity.
The world seems one huge prison-house & court
Where men are punished at the slightest cost,
With lowest rate of colour, warmth & joy.

George Eliot

Such a modernist sounding work; even a tad of the other Eliot (T.S.) about it, but this was written in the 1870s. It was not published during Eliot’s lifetime.

For further poetry, please press this feather, and you may find more Victorian poetry. Or you may not. I’m not promising, you know.
Tuesday Poem

Don’t forget, if you’re in Canberra, to come to the reading at Smiths, Alinga Street, Thursday 20th at 6pm, with Nigel Featherstone, JC Inman and myself. Unfortunately George Eliot can’t make it.

6 Responses to “Tuesday poem ‘In a London Drawingroom’ by George Eliot”

  1. Really enjoyed this poem, Penelope. I love that phrase she uses: “No figure lingering
    Pauses to feed the hunger of the eye
    Or rest a little on the lap of life.”

  2. pscottier said

    She was a remarkable novelist, of course, but until I stumbled upon this poem I really had no idea about her poetry.

    Glad you enjoyed my time travel, Andrew.

  3. kaaronwarren said

    Hopefully see you tonight! Hope you’ve got your groove on because I expect to be impressed.

    • pscottier said

      She stirs and searches for a groove,
      Long lost in the drawing room of life.
      Unable to find one, she turns to vodka,
      And wraps herself in a cold muff of fire.

      Obviously, Kaaron, I have misplaced that groove thing….See you tonight.

  4. kaaronwarren said

    She enters the muff era.

  5. pscottier said

    Somehow I think that I’ll leave that well alone…

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