From Mrs Saville, England
May 1, 18-
You write to me brother of Archangel,
of Petersburg, of northern climes and lights,
of your quaint coracle like a wicker bird
trapped in its blue green cage.
But I have my own fields of ice and snow,
frozen wastes and compressions; a world
that cracks and falls away, reforming again
in awesome scale whene'er I close my eyes.
You speak of a fiend, with wondrous voice.
In your words you seek to press its stature,
this lone figure with jaundiced imperfections
and huge murderous hands.
Yet here my very quill screams out of devils,
ones you knowingly left me here to face:
the spawn of every fair-intentioned man –
dead flesh quivering with naked malice,
fish-eyed stares and stranger, colder hands!
You asked me once if I did understand –
imagining I guess a sister happily bound,
at home with the gentleman and his monster –
but I should ask you such a loaded question,
and picture the fog that freezes in your throat.
Can your icy mind imagine all the horrors?
That universe of things' that met my eyes,
as a new world of souls was cursed forever
to wander as the wan and undead peoples
of a wretched and unholy land?
My husband lately visited Australia.
Such noble and hardworking folk he met –
men who in the steady breast of England
produce sheepswool, cattle, Norfolk flax
and a harvest of black hands.
It seems there a lifeless creature's set in motion,
whose breath you'll soon be feeling at your nape.
My husband and his peers are its dumb masters,
and a Christian heart will not be your escape.
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