Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Victorians were as obsessed with Death as our own age is obsessed with Sex. Here I have tried to write a poem reflecting the wearing of Black at the time of mourning.


For a year and a day I will mourn him, the father of my child,
As the winds of grief blow round my heart, ever more chill and wild.
He was taken to live with the angels; he looks down on us from above!
Baby dear, kiss your own Papa, who gazes down with love.
I remember his face, so waxen, as he breathed his final breath
In life, my dear, he was lovely. He was lovely even in death.
They laid out my mourning costume, the thick black bombazine.
It breaks my heart to remember that he loved me best in green.
We'll stay fast in the house, my lovely, till our mourning days are done.
The shadowy house becomes us much more than the blazing sun.
I'll draw back the curtains one moment; you must kiss Papa on the face.
But to leave them open for longer would be a dreadful disgrace.
The clocks were all stopped at three, love, the time that the angels came;
To let them sound out the hours since then would bring this house great shame.
When a year and a day have passed, dear, I'll walk out in a dress of grey.
Am I really so terribly wicked to long for that distant day?
We'll visit the graveyard on Sunday; you'll wear your little black dress,
And passers-by will doff their hats to acknowledge our great distress.
Little children have to be taught, love, what a family death can mean.
I'm only just learning myself, you know, and I am all of sixteen.
More old traditions here:


Bogey said...

Considering I am in the middle of reading Wuthering Heights, this poem fits perfectly in snyc with that time period. As sad as this poem may be, I think it is one of the best that I have read of yours.

Durward Discussion said...

I'm sure the Victorians were influenced by having a Queen in mourning for the majority of her reign and all the courtiers mirroring her dress for the sake of access. They did seem to take an unusual interest in all things connected to death.

Carolyn Ford said...

That is a very nice black entry! Perfect...

mine is at: