Stevie Smith

Stevie Smith Poems

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
...

Alone in the woods I felt
The bitter hostility of the sky and the trees
Nature has taught her creatures to hate
Man that fusses and fumes
...

I do not ask for mercy for understanding for peace
And in these heavy days I do not ask for release
I do not ask that suffering shall cease.
...

Dearest Evelyn, I often think of you
Out with the guns in the jungle stew
Yesterday I hittapotamus
I put the measurements down for you but they got lost in the fuss
...

My life is vile
I hate it so
I'll wait awhile
And then I'll go.
...

It was my bridal night I remember,
An old man of seventy-three
I lay with my young bride in my arms,
A girl with t.b.
...

The lions who ate the Christians on the sands of the arena
By indulging native appetites played was now been seen a
Not entirely negligible part
In consolidating at the very start
...

Never again will I weep
And wring my hands
And beat my head against the wall
Because
...

Drugs made Pauline vague.
She sat one day at the breakfast table
Fingering in a baffled way
The fronds of the maidenhair plant.
...

Walking swiftly with a dreadful duchess,
He smiled too briefly, his face was pale as sand,
He jumped into a taxi when he saw me coming,
Leaving my alone with a private meaning,
...

Away, melancholy,
Away with it, let it go.

Are not the trees green,
...

Mother, among the dustbins and the manure
I feel the measure of my humanity, an allure
As of the presence of God, I am sure
...

Tenuous and Precarious
Were my guardians,
Precarious and Tenuous,
Two Romans.
...

18.

Nobody knows what I feel about Freddy
I cannot make anyone understand
I love him sub specie aet ernitaties
I love him out of hand.
...

He said no word of her to us
Nor we of her to him,
But oh it saddened us to see
How wan he grew and thin.
...

20.

Why is the word pretty so underrated?
In November the leaf is pretty when it falls.
The stream grows deep in the woods after rain.
And in the pretty pool the pike stalks.
...

Stevie Smith Biography

Florence Margaret Smith was born on September 20, 1902 in Hull, England. Her father left the family to join the North Sea Patrol when she was just a young girl. She moved at the age of three to Palmers Green where she attended the North London Collegiate School. While still only a teenager her mother died and she and her sister went to live with their spinster aunt. The aunt became an important figure in her life, affectionately known as "The Lion".

After high school she attended North London Collegiate School for Girls. She began as a secretary with the magazine publisher George Newnes and went on to be the private secretary to Sir Nevill Pearson and Sir Frank Newnes. She began writing poetry in her twenties while working at George Newnes. Her first book, Novel on Yellow Paper, was published in 1936 and drew heavily on her own life experience, examining the unrest in England during World War I. Her first collection of verse, A Good Time Was Had By All (1937), also contained rough sketches or doodles, which became characteristic of her work. These drawings have both a feeling of caprice and doom, and the poetry in the collection is stylistically typical of Smith as it conveys serious themes in a nursery rhyme structure.

While Smith's volatile attachment to the Church of England is evident in her poetry, death, her "gentle friend," is perhaps her most popular subject. Much of her inspiration came from theology and the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. She enjoyed reading Tennyson and Browning and read few contemporary poets in an attempt to keep her voice original and pure. Her style is unique in its combination of seemingly prosaic statements, variety of voices, playful meter, and deep sense of irony. Smith was officially recognized with the Chomondeley Award for Poetry in 1966 and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1969. Smith died of a brain tumor in 1971.

The Best Poem Of Stevie Smith

Not Waving But Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Stevie Smith Comments

Radhika 30 July 2019

Poem benefits drugs poem

1 1 Reply
Robert Neil Francis 13 March 2019

Wonderful poetry; I try to do the same!

0 1 Reply
Chuck Taylor 09 July 2018

Stevie Smith is one of the most overrated poets I know.

2 10 Reply
David Taylor Taylor 22 June 2017

Teach this poem in high school. Perfect to answer the poetry unit for exams. There is so much to this poem and a theme that touches at some point in their lives.

4 2 Reply
Disa Miller 05 March 2006

My favorite poem by Stevie Smith (Florence Smith) is 'Nor we of her to him.' I love the brother Grimm touches she put into her poems, it gives it a new flavor. in a way she's was like the Emeril of poetry. she added a little Bam! :)

21 16 Reply

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