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[Manuscript Poem] “The Fallen Poplar”

  1. 00018533_0001
  2. 00018533_0002

Mary Webb. “The Fallen Poplar.” Manuscript poem, one leaf, 7″ x 7¾″, on off-white ruled wove paper. Twelve lines in three stanzas, black ink, with corrections. The final stanza may have been completed at a later time, as the last two-and-a-half lines are written in larger and darker ink script, and show signs of being partially traced over earlier writing. This may be the poem “written a year or two ago” that Mary refers to in her letter of July 23 [1911] to Mrs. Webb. At this point in their writing careers, Mary and her fiancé Henry were both dedicated nature lovers. Yet Henry’s writing was scholarly, whereas Mary’s was more descriptive, sensuous and immediate. “Much that in Henry’s work is made explicit discursively, in Mary’s is expressed implicitly in nature imagery, is cloaked in metaphor. Where Henry explains symbol, Mary uses it” (Coles, The Flower of Light, 1978, p. 102).