Vera Wainwright, poem on Powys

An excerpt from a signed typed letter addressed to the feminist bookseller and Powys specialist, Joan Stevens from Phil Coram (among other things the bibliographer of Hugo Manning.)

Vera Wainwright… have you heard of her Joan? She met the Powys family in 1927 and was “greatly enriched by this meeting”… a curious tie-up here… she was published in COMMENT, the very magazine which Hugo had such difficulty in getting hold of. She was also a good friend of Victor Neuburg and Austin Osman Spare… both of whom were involved with Aleister Crowley. In fact I have a copy of POEMS & MASK by Vera Wainwright which is illustrated by Austin O. Spare (and not published till 1968… 13 years after Spare’s death). These illustrations, as far as I know, are not published in any of Spare’s other books. The thing which may be of interest to you however is the first poem in the collection… at the risk of copyright here goes…

For John Cowper Powys

The sad sea shell that murmurs all the day

Its memories faint; the lost, abandoned stone;

The swinging branch whence the swift bird has flown;

The ruined building, solitary, grey;

The lonely poles that negligently stray

Along the road – while the winds monotone

Wakes their thin wires… The protest (the hushed moan

in pain of living -: for all these you pray.

The earth your alter; with your earnest hands

Darkly down thrust to subterranean Powers,

You suppliant voice demands, – insists, insists…

An unseen congregation slowly bands:

Frail eidolons from all the sentient hours;

From Night, from Day, from far and strangest trysts.

Quite perceptive eh!

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