A Victorian Life

I have one poem published in the most recent issue of the UK magazine Dream Catcher.  Issue #23 is dedicated entirely to Canadian writing.  Apparently there hasn’t been an exclusively Canadian issue of a literary magazine from the UK for fifteen years.


A Victorian Life

My life began drearily –
daughter of a minor clerk
and a woman who died in childbirth.
At twenty, courted by a melancholic
who threatened suicide if we didn’t marry.
Tired of dragging my petticoats through sludge,
I acquiesced.
We were happy for a while
until he frequented brothels.
Soon after, his “precious angel”
became “lunatic whore.”

Cast adrift, I discovered
the bohemian circle – artist faces
gloomy as the maroon of parlour walls.
I investigated spiritualism and theosophy,
joined a secret society –
an offshoot of the Golden Dawn.
Remarried, a magus.
We were mad for each other, twin souls,
until he became violently ill
from a malady no doctor could name
(though I suspect malevolence).

Richly inherited,
I packed my late husband’s regalia,
fled to Canada and crossed it by rail –
registering under a pseudonym
at the Empress Hotel.

Visitors come and go.
Daily I read tea leaves
for signs of the approaching century:
a raven perched on a cross,
a sword piercing a cloud.

Copyright © Clara Blackwood 2009

(published in Dream Catcher 23)


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