The Fools

Muriel Stuart 1885 – 1967

BELOW, the street was hoarse with cries,
With groan of carts and scuffling feet,
With laughter worse than blasphemies,
Was choked with dust and blind with heat,
This room was still--too still for peace.

It heard the livid words we said
Of hate and passion, watched us where
I sat, as one beside the dead--
You lay with all your glorious hair
Flung on the crazy bed.

The moment's passion ended brought--
Ah, child, to you what did it bring?
What could it, but one hideous thought
To us so tired of everything,
And hating what we sought?

--So tired of all this grey room meant,
Of life together, shackled cold,
Or bound in flame so different
From the swift, white desire of old,
The old, divine consent.

Poor room, so meanly intimate!
Our dirty clothes sprawled on a chair,
Combs, candle-ends, and grimy plate
Littered the table, paper and hair
Forlornely choked the grate.

And I so passionate, you such
A wild sweet plunderer of bliss
Soon fallen in our own folly's clutch,
Finding how wrong, how mad it is
To know, to love, too much.

You rose, but with no woman's care
For all the beauty that is hers,
Pent up your out-burst storm of hair
And fetched your cloak and found your purse,
And matched my sullen stare.

Wild words so often said before
Escape us in the old fierce way.
You cried, "I shall return no more!"
I said, "I shall no longer stay!"
You closed the grumbling door.

The mirror grinned, "They are still one."
The cupboard gasped, "Their clothes are here."
The ghastly bed said with a leer,
"I shall not sleep alone!"

They knew what took us years to learn,
That Habit terrible and slow
Doth Love and Hate alike inurn.
They knew too well I should not go,
They knew you would return.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011


Muriel Stuart

Muriel Stuart was The daughter of a Scottish barrister was a poet particularly concerned with the topic of sexual politics though she first wrote poems about World War I She later gave up poetry writing her last work was published in the 1930s She was born Muriel Stuart Irwin She was hailed by Hugh MacDiarmid as the best woman poet of the Scottish Renaissance although she was not Scottish but English Despite this his comment led to her inclusion in many Scottish anthologies Thomas Hardy described her poetry as Superlatively good Her most famous poem In the Orchard is entirely dialogs and in no kind of verse form which makes it innovative for its time She does use rhyme a mixture of half-rhyme and rhyming couplets abab form Other famous poems of hers are The Seed Shop The Fools and Man and his Makers Muriel also wrote a gardening book called Gardeners Nightcap 1938 which was later reprinted by Persephone Books more…

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