01 April 2008

'Passion': my Emily Bronte poem

In the post below, about The Glass Essay, I mentioned that it inspired me to write my poem ‘Passion’, which is (also) about Emily Bronte. It had been sloshing around in my head for a while, unformed, but after (or possibly even during) reading The Glass Essay, it emerged, mostly fully formed.

Anyway, here is ‘Passion’; hope you enjoy it.


A curmudgeonly male critic once said
that Emily Bronte was
clearly a lesbian

‘It’s irrefutable,’ he said
because her words were
so passionate

therefore she was a woman
of strong sexual desire
She never married, never had a boyfriend

and so
was gay


I imagine Emily
with a series of lovers
taking off each other’s
empire lines in
discreet hollows
on the chilly moors
Emily wearing scarlet, but oh
not any more

I imagine the love letters
the fights, things
may have been thrown because
when one has such passion...


Emily lived with her sisters
for her thirty-one years
‘She never
made a friend,’ said Charlotte

What to do
with all that passion

Passion was in JAAM 25, and will be in my upcoming collection My Iron Spine. I also just discovered that it wasn't too far off getting in Best New Zealand Poems 2007, which I'm very happy about. More about that later.

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