Monday, June 15, 2020

Marjorie Pickthall

Marjorie Pickthall (1883―1922) is a writer and poet who served as an ambulance driver during WWI. At one time she was championed by conservative critics as the best Canadian poet of her generation ― valued as a moderate voice between populist poets such as Robert Service, and the influence of the modernists. Her reputation, however, has suffered the same fate as many Victorian and early 20th century poets, whose work fell out of fashion.

When she was still a 15-year-old student at Toronto’s Bishop Strachan School, one of her stories appeared in the major newspaper The Globe. While in her early twenties, she authored three adventure novels. Her writing also appeared in journals such as Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and Scribner’s. Her first poetry collection, The Drift of Pinions (1913) was the first of five books she produced during the final decade of her life.

Although she had moved to Vancouver, her body is buried in St. James Cemetery, Toronto.

Adam and Eve

In the high noon of the heavenly garden
Where the angels sunned with the birds,
Beauty, before their hearts could harden,
Had taught them heavenly words.

When they fled in the burning weather
And nothing dawned but a dream,
Beauty fasted their hands together
And cooled them at her stream.

And when day wearied and night grew stronger,
And they slept as the beautiful must,
Then she bided a little longer,
And blossomed from their dust.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.