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Poetry in Translation (CCCXVIII): Marjorie Lowry Christie PICKTHALL (1883-1922), ENGLAND/CANADA – “Marching Men”, “Soldaţi”

February 3rd, 2015 · No Comments · Books, Famous People, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

Poetry in Translation (CCCXVIII): Marjorie Lowry Christie PICKTHALL
(1883-1922), ENGLAND/CANADA – “Marching Men”, “Soldaţi”

Marjorie L. C. PICKTHALL

Marjorie L. C. PICKTHALL

Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall

(1883, England – 1922, Canada)

Under the level winter sky
I saw a thousand Christs go by.
They sang an idle song and free
As they went up to calvary.

Careless of eye and coarse of lip,
They marched in holiest fellowship.
That heaven might heal the world, they gave
Their earth-born dreams to deck the grave.

With souls unpurged and steadfast breath
They supped the sacrament of death.
And for each one, far off, apart,
Seven swords have rent a woman’s heart.

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Marjorie Pickthall -  Selected Poems

Marjorie Pickthall – Selected Poems

Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall

(1883, Londra, Anglia – 1922, Canada)

În iarna cerului de plumb,
Văzut-am mii de sfinţi trecând.
Cântau un imn să uite-amarul,
Purtând, cu fruntea sus, calvarul.

Nepăsători si surâzând,
Mergeau la pas, rând după rând.
Tu, dă-le pace, Doamne Sfinte,
Cu flori s-acopere morminte!

Cu fruntea sus, în faţa morţii,
Au luat un sacrament, cu toţii,
Ştiind că au lăsat la vatră
O fiinţă ce le-a plâns de soartă.

Rendered in Romanian by Constantin ROMAN, London
© 2015 Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London

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Marjorie Pickthall, Canada

Marjorie Pickthall, Canada

SHORT BIO: Marjorie Lowry Christie PICKTHALL (14 September 1883, Gunnersbury, London – 19 April 1922, Vancouver), was a Canadian writer who was born in England but lived in Canada from the time she was seven. She was once “thought to be the best Canadian poet of her generation.”
After receiving her education at Bishop Strachan School for Girls, she worked in the library of Victoria College University of Toronto, where she helped compile a bibliography of Canadian poetry. Pickthall first published stories and poems in 1898 in the Toronto Globe. Her literary output, which includes several hundred short stories and five novels, nearly halted at her mother’s death in 1910, but Pickthall returned to England from 1912 to 1920 and recovered her will to write. She lived both at a cottage at Bowerchalke, near Salisbury, and in London. During this period she published two volumes of poetry: The Drift of Pinions (1913) and The Map of Poor Souls (1916). Her war-time work overseas included farming, training as an ambulance driver, and working in the South Kensington Meteorological Office library. Late in this period she wrote in a letter dated December 27:
“To me the trying part is being a woman at all. I’ve come to the ultimate conclusion that I’m a misfit of the worst kind, in spite of a superficial femininity — emotion with a foreknowledge of impermanence, a daring mind with only the tongue as an outlet, a greed for experience plus a slavery to convention — what the deuce are you to make of that? — as a woman? As a man, you could go ahead and stir things up fine”.

Homesick, she sailed back to Canada in 1920 and, after a brief time with her father in Toronto, settled in a cottage on Vancouver Island. She died unexpectedly from an embolus in the spring of 1922 and was interred in St. James’ Cemetery in Toronto.
After her death, three volumes of her poetry came out: “The Woodcarver’s Wife and Other Poems” (1922), “Little Songs” (1925), and “The Naiad and Five Other Poems” (1931). Her father compiled and published her “Collected Poems” in 1925 and again, definitively, in 1936.
Victoria College holds a major collection of her manuscripts.

(Modified from: http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poets/pickthall-marjorie)

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