Monday, April 24, 2023

H.F. Gould

H.F. Gould (1789―1865) is a Massachusetts poet whose father was among those who fought in the first battle of the American Revolution. While Hannah Flagg Gould was still a child, her mother died, and for many years she dedicated herself to keeping house for her father. Her first poetry collection, consisting primarily of poems that had appeared in magazines and annuals, was put together by her friends in 1832 without her knowledge. Her work became quite popular, which led to ten further collections eventually being published.

Although she never came close to his imaginative skill, Gould was much taken with the poetry of William Blake ― quoting Blake’s comment, "my business is not to gather gold, but to make glorious shapes expressing God-like sentiments."

She wrote abolitionist poetry, nature poetry, children's poetry, and poems of faith ― some of which have become hymns.

A Name in the Sand

Alone I walked the ocean strand;
A pearly shell was in my hand:
I stooped and wrote upon the sand
My name—the year—the day.
As onward from the spot I passed,
One lingering look behind I cast;
A wave came rolling high and fast,
And washed my lines away.

And so, methought, ’t will shortly be
With every mark on earth from me:
A wave of dark oblivion’s sea
Will sweep across the place
Where I have trod the sandy shore
Of time, and been, to be no more,
Of me—my day—the name I bore,
To leave nor track nor trace.

And yet, with Him who counts the sands
And holds the waters in his hands,
I know a lasting record stands
Inscribed against my name,
Of all this mortal part has wrought,
Of all this thinking soul has thought,
And from these fleeting moments caught
For glory or for shame.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.