Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wilhelmina Stitch

If you’ve read my T post from a couple of days ago, you may be curious about the poet I alluded to as the subject of an upcoming post. Well wonder no longer my friends for today I present to you, Wilhelmina Stitch.

A lot of books I find are by poets whose names I recognize, but when I don’t it’s time for Google. It seems Wilhelmina Stitch was a pen name for one Ruth Collie (1888-1936) whose details I won’t post, as they’re out there for those interested, my main concern is this little book, ‘The Fragrant Minute’, and this poem which begins with a W on this designated day:

Where Is He?

How disappointed God must be
when those who question, “Where is He?”
go blindly past a gracious tree,
see nothing there at all.
Who never note that overhead
the sky has changed from gold to red,
that little fluffy clouds have fled,
and shadows clasp the wall.

How He must grieve and feel forlorn
when on a rosy day newborn;
a pink-veiled, dewy, glorious morn,
we ask Him for a sign.
Nor ever note how He each night,
brings sister Moon with visage bright,
and also makes, for our delight,
His little stars to shine.

I think—should we still make request
for some sure sign, when on her breast
a mother rocks her babe to rest,
and sings her babe to sleep;
if we should question, “Where is He?”
in face of this great mystery,
our doubt would stab so painfully,
I think He fain would weep.

Whenever I’m lucky enough to find one of these treasures, I hungrily comb through the pages, anxious to discover what nugget of wisdom may lie therein, or what gloriously worded beauty (such as above) may dazzle my eye. This one was a little different because there are many handwritten entries connecting moments in the owner’s life with one of the poems, possible because there is a blank page before every poem. On one page there is even a little white feather taped with a notation ‘Dicky’s Feather 1938’, it gives me chills just thinking about it. This book wasn’t just read, it was lived, it was believed, it was cherished by not just the owner, but by others as there are references to ‘Our last meeting’ and other group statements. I can picture them around a fire sharing special poems and thoughts with each other while the world around them was ramping up for WWII, their idyllic existence about to change forever.

This is without a doubt one of the most special books I have ever found and I shall honor it as those before me have. After posting the poem on my blog I wrote my own entry in there, hoping that whoever finds it after I’m long gone can sense my respect and appreciation for these wonderful words from the past that still ring true today. The best part is that inside the cover the owner claims the book with a date of 1937, so this was found after the writer had expired, what a testament to her talent. And as a writer, it is my greatest and most profound hope that someday even one of my meager offerings can instill someone else with that sense of wonder, that ultimate respect for life that is savored not just through the mind, but with the heart and soul as well, a true living legacy.


Donna Smith said...

She was really special. And wouldn't it be nice to know that you struck a chord with someone that same way someday? I'm pretty sure you have already.

Laura S. said...

Hello! What a wonderful poem. It's a good reminder to look all around us and marvel at our world, to not take it for granted. Thank you for sharing!

Have a lovely week and happy A to Z!!

Pat Hatt said...

Wow never heard of her before, sounds like quite the artist indeed.

Anonymous said...

why would he fain weep? or is it fein to weep?

rch said...

Thanks Donna, but it's unlikely I'll be remembered beyond my lifetime.

Hi Laura, yes it's a great poem, happy a-z to you as well.

Hey there Pat, she's where it's at.

Hi zon, fain means willing or prepared to so I think it's correct 8-D

Lynn Proctor said...

very beautiful and stirring--i know, what you mean about having someone read your words later--i know they will

Anonymous said...

Great story. For some reason, writing in a book like that seems brave to me.

ddbyrne said...

Hi I thought this may be of interest to you, a clipping from the back of a painting by Artist Fred Elwell, (seemingly unrelated, just a novel piece of poetry a former owner of the painting liked).