A poem this morning from one of our favourite poets, Christina Rossetti. This week we’re reading From Sunset to Star Rise.
Born in London to Italian parents in 1830, Christina Rossetti was the youngest of an extraordinarily gifted family.
She and her three siblings all enjoyed successful writing careers, her eldest brother Dante also following in the footsteps of their father, Gabriele Rossetti, to become a celebrated artist. Their mother, Frances Polidori, was a trained governess and committed herself to developing the intellectual excellence of her children, proving successful not only with Christina’s reverence as one of the greatest poets of the Victorian era and Dante’s success as an artist and poet, but elder daughter Maria also wrote a well respected study of Dante and William, a prolific art and literary critic, was to become the memoirist of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
Christina is said to have dictated her first story to her mother before she had even learned to write and had penned over fifty poems by the age of 16, which her sister transcribed into a notebook. Throughout her teens Rossetti experimented with different forms of verse, all of which were heavily influenced by her mother’s teachings in religion and folk tales.
From Sunset to Star Rise
Go from me, summer friends, and tarry not:
I am no summer friend, but wintry cold,
A silly sheep benighted from the fold,
A sluggard with a thorn-choked garden plot.
Take counsel, sever from my lot your lot,
Dwell in your pleasant places, hoard your gold;
Lest you with me should shiver on the wold,
Athirst and hungering on a barren spot.
For I have hedged me with a thorny hedge,
I live alone, I look to die alone:
Yet sometimes, when a wind sighs through the sedge,
Ghosts of my buried years, and friends come back,
My heart goes sighing after swallows flown
On sometime summer’s unreturning track.