Archive for July 27th, 2021

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

The Refugee by Marjorie Battcock

Mud dark above the stream the factory’s finger
Points through the rain towards a sodden sky,
Setting and cold crush her desire to linger,
Barred shops and shuttered windows mute the street,
The scene’s decay is like an ugly cry.

She turns towards her home, a furnished room,
Its paint beer-brown, its three-piece, saxe-blue plush,
Where a bald light diminishes the gloom,
But leaves her chilled, and turns her thoughts towards,
The foreign city that was once her home, lush

In the summer with grape-green linden trees;
Evenings of music, cafés, interchange
Of differing views; all this she sees,
Vivid in retrospect, each richly-textured day
Ended with war; instead the pinchbeck range

Of work’s monotony, that dims her pride
In memories. But for this isolation
She blames herself—friends have been tortured, died,
She, rootless, without future, should be glad,
And being so, deny her desolation.

From: Reilly, Catherine W. (ed.), Chaos of the Night: Women’s Poetry and Verse of the Second World War, 1984, Virago: London, p. 12.
(https://archive.org/details/chaosofnightwome0000unse/)

Date: 1960

By: Marjorie Battcock (fl. 1956-1964)