Zora Bernice May Cross
Biography of Zora Bernice May Cross
Zora Bernice May Cross was an Australian poet, novelist and journalist.
She was born in Brisbane, and was educated at Ipswich Girls' Grammar School and then Sydney Teachers' College. She taught for three years and then worked as a journalist, for the Boomerang and then as a freelance writer.
After the failure of her first marriage she eventually lived in a de facto marriage with David McKee Wright. Zora'a first book of poetry, A Song of Mother Love, was published in 1916. Songs of Love and life, a collection of love poetry thought at the time to be rather too frank, but which proved popular enough to appear is several editions, followed in 1917.
The 1920s saw the continuation of war poetry, both celebrating the exploits of the fighting men and lamenting the realities of war. Zora Cross’s Elegy on an Australian schoolboy, a poem about her young brother who was killed in the war, is an example of the latter. She is best-known for her 1917 book, Songs of love.
She was known not only for her poems, including sonnet sequences, but for a private life scandalous by the standards of her time. She wrote about sex, childbirth and war, in terms also considered too explicit by contemporaries.
As Bernice May, she wrote a regular column in the 1930s for the Australian Women's Mirror. It comprised interviews with women writers.
Zora Cross died in the Blue Mountain region of New South Wales in 1964.
Zora Bernice May Cross's Works:
A Song of Mother Love (1916)
Songs of Love and Life (1917)
The Lilt of Life (1918)
The City of Riddle-Me-Ree (1918)
Elegy on an Australian Schoolboy (1921)
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Zora Bernice May Cross Poems
The New Moon
What have you got in your knapsack fair, White moon, bright moon, pearling the air, Spinning your bobbins and fabrics free, Fleet moon, sweet moon, in to the sea?
It’s holiday time on the hollyhock hills, And I wish you would come with me laddie-love, now, The butterfly-bells, from the Folly-fool rills, Will ring if you listen, and drop on your brow.
Late, late last night, when the whole world slept, Along to the garden of dreams I crept. And I pulled the bell of an old, old house Where the moon dipped down like a little white mouse.
Love Sonnet X
And then came Science with her torch red-lit And cosmic marvels round her glowing head— The primal cell, the worm, the quadruped—
Oh! Bury me in books when I am dead, Fair quarto leaves of ivory and gold, And silk octavos, bound in brown and red, That tales of love and chivalry unfold.
Love Sonnet Xlii
My true mind makes as many loves of you As my full heart contentedly can hold. And when the one grows dull, the other cold,
Dame Fortune’s jade with a fanciful horn Of silver ambitions she warns of the flame; With pearls for the princes and tears night and morn For poor little poets who fluttered for fame,
Love Sonnet Xv
Love, you have brought to me my perfect soul, More sweet than earthly things, more precious rare, Hiding its fragrance in my loosened hair
Love Sonnet Xlix
In me there is a vast and lonely place, Where none, not even you, have walked in sight. A wide, still vale of solitude and light,
Love Sonnet Xliv
Love is the sepulchre of all my sin, If it be sin to let the body sink In that slow dying the sick senses drink
Love Sonnet Liv
What have you more than I, who crave you so? Have I not hands and feet and thoughts to tell? All my sweet senses and fine dreams that swell
Love Sonnet Xxxv
I cannot find a fault in you; and yet I think you are not perfect many ways. I have seen lips more meet for maiden praise
Sonnet Of Motherhood Xlv
Dearest, your mother feels (though dead) this birth— Laughs at the fire within your shining eyes— Your eyes, yet mine, wherein such glory lies
Elegy On An Australian Schoolboy
I would not curse your England, wise as slow, Just as unjust in deed. I can believe that from her heart may flow
Oh! Bury me in books when I am dead,
Fair quarto leaves of ivory and gold,
And silk octavos, bound in brown and red,
That tales of love and chivalry unfold.
Heap me in volumes of fine vellum wrought,
Creamed with the close content of silent speech;
Wrap me in sapphire tapestries of thought
From some old epic out of common reach.
I would my shroud were verse-embroidered too---