Letitia Elizabeth Landon – Oak
From Wikipedia: “Her reputation, while high in the 19th century, fell during most of the 20th as literary fashions changed and Landon’s poetry was perceived as overly simple and sentimental. In recent years, however, scholars and critics have increasingly studied her work, beginning with Germaine Greer in the 1970s.
Critics such as Isobel Armstrong argue that the supposed simplicity of poetry such as Landon’s is deceptive, and that women poets of the 19th century often employed a method of writing which allows for multiple, concurrent levels of meaning. …Any assessment should not forget the factors that brought Landon to pre-eminence: the originality of her ideas and the sheer beauty of her poetry in all its many diverse forms. Those ideas engendered a whole new school of poetry (the ‘Landon School’), which spread not only in England but also in America.””
. . . It is the last survivor of a race
Strong in their forest-pride when I was young.
I can remember when, for miles around,
In place of those smooth meadows and corn-fields,
There stood ten thousand tall and stately trees,
Such as had braved the winds of March, the bolt
Sent by the summer lightning, and the snow
Heaping for weeks their boughs. Even in the depth
Of hot July the glades were cool; the grass,
Yellow and parched elsewhere, grew long and fresh,
Shading wild strawberries and violets,
Or the lark’s nest; and overhead the dove
Had her lone dwelling, paying for her home
With melancholy songs; and scarce a beech
Was there without a honeysuckle linked
Around, with its red tendrils and pink flowers;
Or girdled by a brier-rose, whose buds
Yield fragrant harvest for the honey-bee
There dwelt the last red deer, those antler’d kings . . .
But this is as dream,—the plough has pass’d
Where the stag bounded, and the day has looked
On the green twilight of the forest-trees.
This oak has no companion! . . . .
Date: June 18, 2016
Categories: Letitia Elizabeth Landon