Despotisms

By Louise Imogen Guiney 1861–1920
I: THE MOTOR: 1905

From hedgerows where aromas fain would be
    New volleyed odours execrably arise;
    The flocks, with hell-smoke in their patient eyes,
Into the ditch from bawling ruin flee:
Spindrift of one abominated sea
    Along all roads in wrecking fury flies
    Till on young strangled leaf, on bloom that dies,
In this far plot it writes a rune for me.

Vast intimate tyranny! Nature dispossessed
    Helplessly hates thee, whose symbolic flare
Lights up (with what reiterance unblest!)
    Entrails of horror in a world thought fair.
False God of pastime thou, vampire of rest,
    Augur of what pollution, what despair?

Louise Imogen Guiney, “Despotisms” from Happy Ending: The Collected Lyrics of Louise Imogen Guiney. Copyright 1927 and renewed © 1955 by Grace Guiney. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: Happy Ending: The Collected Lyrics of Louise Imogen Guiney (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005)

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Poet Louise Imogen Guiney 1861–1920

Subjects Social Commentaries, Money & Economics

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Louise Imogen Guiney

Biography

Louise Imogen Guiney is known for her lyrical, Old English-style poems that often recall the literary conventions of seventeenth-century English poetry. Informed by her religious faith, Guiney's works reflect her concern with the Catholic tradition in literature and often emphasize moral rectitude and heroic gallantry. Today Guiney is praised for her scholarship in both her poetry and in her numerous literary and historical . . .

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SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Money & Economics

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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