Friday, August 3, 2012


One of the many inspiring views at The Mount
I've long loved the work of Edith Wharton. Imagine my delight when I discovered while at her home The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts, that Edith also authored some poems!

As you might expect (if you are familiar with either her life or her works), the poems revolve around themes of "desire and regret, landscape and myth, the pleasures of art and the horrors of war." (taken from the back cover of the volume of selected poems edited by Louis Auchincloss as part of American Poets Project)

Since I am currently focusing on short pieces, I particularly enjoyed her "Lyrical Epigrams."

Here's the start:

My little old dog:
A heart-beat
At my feet.

Truly, she was a dog-lover and kept treats at the dining table for her canine friends.

But my favorite poem in the volume (today) is this one:


by Edith Wharton

When unregarding Death shall come,
Pick me up and take me home--
The long long way--
Compose my eye-lids, hush the noise,
And put away the broken toys
at close of day;

If underneath my cleansed lid
One secret vision may be hid,
Let it be
A purple shallow over-leant
By emerald pines the wind has bent,
And, when the evening sky grows pale,
A single umber-coloured sail
At sea.

And now I'm thinking about my secret vision... do you have a secret vision, too? Let's write our own "Treasure" poems! And don't forget to partake of other poetic offerings with Rena at On the Way to Somewhere for Poetry Friday roundup.


  1. Oh, I love the little beloved dog and also everything happening under the eyelids in that second poem. I missed Wharton as poet, too. Have you read her slender book "On Writing Fiction?" I don't agree with all of it, partly as some styles have changed, but it's an interesting balance to our more dialog heavy fiction -- which I love, but interesting to try to lean a bit her way.

    I love hearing more about your trip, which helps keeps the feeling of your presence in Mass. alive. Your picture from the Wharton balcony is very summer-in-Mass with the thick blue-gray air. I just wrote about my glimpse of your visit here:

    1. Thank you, Jeannine! You wrote the loveliest posts. And I agree with you about Wharton's ON WRITING FICTION. I gotta say, I want her book about house decor. I love her style so much. Miss you!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Irene - loved virtually being on that balcony in your wonderful photo!

    And the poems are beautiful, but perhaps MY favorite item in the post today is your line, "But my favorite poem in the volume (today) is this one..." - you truly live your poems each day. :0)

    1. Thanks, Robyn... takes one to know one, friend. xo

  3. I love this: "my favorite poem in the volume (today)". Who could ever pick one unchanging favorite?!?!

    Hey, Jeannine, we've been claiming that hazy summer sky as "Ohio Sky!"

    1. Oh Mary Lee, isn't it wonderful the revolving door of favorite poems. No need to choose! Thanks for visiting.

  4. Beautiful! I didn't realize that she wrote poetry either. Thanks, Irene.

  5. I love having my dogs at my side when I'm working even my rabbit likes to rest on my feet when I'm working on the computer. Don't Feed the Boy sounds fun! I also write for middle grade readers. I'm in the process of trying to get a my book published.

    1. You have a rabbit! Awesome. Put that in a middle grade novel. :) Thanks for visiting.

  6. I'm late, but liked visiting your blog because I just finished Leaving Gee's Bend, Irene, and loved every part. I am in a family of quilters too, so it was dear to me along with the way you created such a loving and strong young woman in Ludelphia. Thank you! And thank you for this beautiful poem, with the mention of a secret vision at the 'end'. How sweet is that if you think of death in that way. It is such a peaceful way to envision it.

  7. Thank you, Linda! It makes me happy to think of you reading Ludelphia's story. She's a special gal. xo

  8. Huge Edith fan! Thanks for the post and prompt!


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