Kathleen Jessie Raine
Biography of Kathleen Jessie Raine
Kathleen Raine was born in London in 1908, where she grew up; taking on a number of unsatisfactory jobs. Through one of her later jobs she met the nephew of the Indian mystic Rama Coomaraswamy Tambimuttu, who invited her to contribute to his new magazine, Poetry London, she did of course, and soon developed a lifelong passion for all things Indian. Raine began to seriously write toward her late twenties, and by 1943 she had published her first collection of poetry Stone and Flower, which was illustrated by Barbara Hepworth. Three years later the collection Living in Time was released, followed by The Pythoness in 1949.
Raine married twice, each time unhappily due to dissatisfaction with domesticity. She was even quoted as saying she felt "as if I were living in someone else's dream.” This unhappiness led to an affair with a gay writer named Gavin Maxwell. This affair helped to inspire the works in The Year One 1952, which she released in 1952. Raine stayed frequently with Maxwell on the island of Sandaig in the Scottish Islands. The relationship ended in 1956 when Raine lost his pet otter, Mijbil, who inspired Maxwell's best-selling book Ring of Bright Water. She published a book of poems called Collected Poems that same year.
She began her autobiography 1973 and it was out in 1977. Four years later Raine had founded her own magazine, called Temenos, to help articulate her views. Raine went on to win several awards, including the Harriet Monroe Prize, Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize from the American Poetry Society, and the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry in 1992. In 2000, she was made a Commander of the British Empire.
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Kathleen Jessie Raine Poems
In my first sleep I came to the river And looked down Through the clear water -
Change Said the sun to the moon, You cannot stay.
Yours is the face that the earth turns to me, Continuous beyond its human features lie The mountain forms that rest against the sky. With your eyes, the reflecting rainbow, the sun's light
Wanting to know all I overlooked each particle Containing the whole Unknowable.
The End Of Love
Now he is dead How should I know My true love's arms From wind and snow?
Reaching down arm-deep into bright water I gathered on white sand under waves Shells, drifted up on beaches where I alone Inhabit a finite world of years and days.
If you go deep Into the heart What do you find there? Fear, fear,
I came too late to the hills: they were swept bare Winters before I was born of song and story, Of spell or speech with power of oracle or invocation,
God in me is the fury on the bare heath God in me shakes the interior kingdom of my heaven. God in me is the fire wherein I burn.
Where is the seed Of the tree felled, Of the forest burned, Or living root
From star to star, from sun and spring and leaf, And almost audible flowers whose sound is silence, And in the common meadows, springs the seed of life.
Primrose, anemone, bluebell, moss Grow in the Kingdom of the Cross And the ash-tree's purple bud
Millenial Hymn To Lord Shiva
Earth no longer hymns the Creator, the seven days of wonder, the Garden is over —
This war's dead heroes, who has seen them? They rise in smoke above the burning city, Faint clouds, dissolving into sky —
Transit Of The Gods
Strange that the self’s continuum should outlast
The Virgin, Aphrodite, and the Mourning Mother,
All loves and griefs, successive deities
That hold their kingdom in the human breast.
Abandoned by the gods, woman with an ageing body
That half remembers the Annunciation
The passion and the travail and the grief
That wore the mask of my humanity,
I marvel at the soul’s indifference.