Friday, January 19, 2007

Poetry in Prose--Virginia Woolf

Red Sky at Night

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was reading Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. I was struck at times by how poetic her language is so I took the liberty of transcribing one passage from the book. I added line breaks and capital letters to make the words look like a poem but all the words and other punctuation are exactly as in the book. I think this passes for a pretty good poem, don't you?

Quiet descended on her,
Calm, content, as her needle,
Drawing the silk smoothly
To its gentle pause,
Collected the green folds together
And attached them, very lightly,
To the belt.

So on a summer’s day
Waves collect, overbalance,
And fall;
Collect and fall;
And the whole world seems to be saying
“That is all”
More and more ponderously,
Until even the heart in the body
Which lies in the sun on the beach
Says too, That is all.

Fear no more, says the heart.
Fear no more, says the heart,
Committing its burden to some sea,
Which sighs collectively for all sorrows,
And renews, begins, collects, lets fall.
And the body alone listens
To the passing bee;
The wave breaking;
The dog barking,
Far away barking and barking.


East of Oregon said...


Bruce Oksol said...

I noticed the same thing, the poetry in Virginia Woolf's writing. I have read somewhere that VW wrote poem-prose; either she said it, or someone else said it. Regardless, I was also intrigued, and I have transcribed the entire "Mrs Dalloway" in blank verse, and just as you did, left the punctuation identical.

Bruce Oksol said...

Another example of Mrs Dalloway in verse:

Velid said...

The Waves are the most poetic, and most exquisite of all her works.

It's well-known she wrote poetic prose. For instance, she said that the melody that is present in the Waves was following her in her head for a great number of years, before she managed to write it out of her system by writing the novel...

cheers to all :-))

sarala said...

Thanks for coming by Velid.