Found - a press-cutting of an 'In Memoriam' poem written by Vita Sackville-West and published in The Observer on 6 April 1941 a week after her friend (and lover) Virginia Woolf had drowned herself in the River Ouse. It is odd that this version of the poem is not online (except possibly at a cash-for-knowledge site which reprints a version from the Winnipeg Tribune from May 17 1941 which may or may not be the same.) There is some suggestion that the free version available online was found at Sissinghurst in Vita's tower/study. From that version, presumably a later revision of the Observer poem (or just possibly an early draft) I have printed the changed words in square brackets. The word 'smell' in the tower version is surely wrong...'Mrs Brown' must be taken as representing 'unknown people.' The lines:
How small, how petty seemed the little men
Measured against her scornful quality.
the same in both versions, have been praised as being particularly acute.
IN MEMORIAM VIRGINIA WOOLF
Many words crowd, and all and each unmeaning.
The simplest words in sorrow are the best.
So let us say, she loved the water-meadows,
The Downs; her books; her friends; her memories;
[her friends; her books;her memories]
The room which was her own.
London by twilight; shops and unknown people;
[shops and Mrs Brown]
Donne's church; the Strand; the buses, and the large
Swell of humanity that passed her by.
[Smell of humanity]
I remember she told me once that she, a child,Continue reading