Biography of Rosemary Tonks
Rosemary Tonks (born 1932) is an English author and poet. She disappeared from the public eye after her conversion to Fundamentalist Christianity in the 1970s, and nothing is known about her life since.
Rosemary Tonks was born in London and educated at Wentworth School, London. Expelled in 1948, she published a children's story in the same year. She married at age 19, and the couple moved to Karachi, where she began to write poetry. Attacks of typhoid and polio forced a return to England. She later lived briefly in Paris.
Tonks worked for the BBC, writing stories and reviewing poetry for the BBC European Service. She published poems in collections and The Observer, the New Statesman, Transatlantic Review, London Magazine, Encounter and Poetry Review, she read on the BBC's "Third Programme". She also wrote "poetic novels".
Her work appears in many anthologies, including Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry (ed. Keith Tuma), Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse, British Poetry since 1945 and The Firebox: Poetry in Britain and Ireland after 1945 (ed. Sean O'Brien).
Tonks stopped publishing poetry in the early 1970s, at about the same time as her conversion to a form of Christianity. Nothing is known publicly about her subsequent life. As Andrew Motion wrote in 2004, she "Disappeared! What happened? Because I admire her poems, I've been trying to find out for years... no trace of her seems to survive - apart from the writing she left behind." The Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry, which published three of Tonks' poems in 2001, states that permission to use her poems was obtained from a literary agency, Sheil Land Associates, Ltd. A BBC Radio 4 Documentary aired on March 29, 2009 stated that Tonks had disappeared from public view and now lives a hermetic existence, refusing telephone and personal calls from friends, family and the media.
Rosemary Tonks Poems
Story Of A Hotel Room
Thinking we were safe-insanity! We went in to make love. All the same Idiots to trust the little hotel bedroom. Then in the gloom…
I swear that I would not go back To pole the glass fishpools where the rough breath lies That built the Earth - there, under the heavy trees
The Drinkers Of Coffee
We talk openly, and exchange souls. Power-shocks of understanding knock us off our feet! The same double life among the bores and vegetables,
Badly Chosen Lover
Criminal, you took a great piece of my life, And you took it under false pretences, That piece of time
A Few Sentences Away
What a night! My past is very close. Dark rag-and-satin April in the city Moves its water lily breezes, one by one. My fading letters! My café-au-lait sentences that groaned for love and money.
Addiction To An Old Mattress
No, this is not my life, thank God... ...worn out like this, and crippled by brain-fag; Obsessed first by one person, an then (Almost at once) most horribly besotted by another:
I insist on vegetating here In motheaten granduer. Haven't I plotted Like a madman to get here? Well then.
Song Of The October Wind
A mighty air-sea, fierce and very clean Was gliding in across the city. Oxygenating gusts swept down and Chloroformed us, in a light too bright to see by.
The Desert Wind Elite
I am outside life, and pour the sand For my own desert, recklessly. But if some flame splashes over from my arab hours Into your dismal, shadow-bathing century...
The Sofas, Fogs, And Cinemas
I have lived it , and lived it, My nervous, luxury civilization, My sugar-loving nerves have battered me to pieces.
Orpheus In Soho
His search is desperate! And the little night-shops of the Underworld With their kiosks...they know it, The little bars as full of dust as a stake cake, None of these places would exist without Orpheus And how well they know it.
Black Kief And The Intellectual
I shall fill up that pit inside me With my gloomist thoughts; and then Spread myself, prostrate, inert, on top of them.
To A Certain Young Man
I can hear the eros of grey rain, Veganin, and telephones Inside your voice. His wings, once cut out of Greek frost, Are now the tint of an old, polished street.
Take care whom you mix with in life, irresponsible one, For if you mix with the rong people - And you yourself may be one of the wrong people - If you make love to the wrong person.
The Desert Wind Elite
I am outside life, and pour the sand
For my own desert, recklessly.
But if some flame splashes over from my arab hours
Into your dismal, shadow-bathing century...
...And burns you, gutter-polished citizen,
With my story - the drifting novocin of my horizon,
My oases, and my mirages, they're built of tears