Monday, June 15, 2015

Alice Meynell

Alice Meynell (1847—1922) is an English poet, writer, editor and activist. She received early encouragement from Alfred Tennyson. Her first book of poetry, Preludes, appeared in 1875. She spoke out on behalf of the oppressed in the face of European imperialism, and was the vice-president of the Women Writers' Suffrage League.

She, along with her husband, Wilfrid, published the poetry of Francis Thomson in their magazine Merrie England, assisted him in his recovery from opium addiction, and arranged to have his first poetry book published.

Twice she was considered for the post of poet laureate. In 1923 The Poems of Alice Meynell: Complete Edition appeared.

Christ in the Universe

With this ambiguous earth
His dealings have been told us. These abide:
The signal to a maid, the human birth,
The lesson, and the young Man crucified.

But not a star of all
The innumerable host of stars has heard
How He administered this terrestrial ball.
Our race have kept their Lord’s entrusted Word.

Of His earth-visiting feet
None knows the secret, cherished, perilous,
The terrible, shamefast, frightened, whispered, sweet,
Heart-shattering secret of His way with us.

No planet knows that this
Our wayside planet, carrying land and wave,
Love and life multiplied, and pain and bliss,
Bears, as chief treasure, one forsaken grave.

Nor, in our little day,
May His devices with the heavens be guessed,
His pilgrimage to thread the Milky Way
Or His bestowals there be manifest.

But in the eternities,
Doubtless we shall compare together, hear
A million alien Gospels, in what guise
He trod the Pleiades, the Lyre, the Bear.

O, be prepared, my soul!
To read the inconceivable, to scan
The myriad forms of God those stars unroll
When, in our turn, we show to them a Man.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.