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[Manuscript Poem] “To A Blackbird/Singing In London”

  1. 00018538_0001
  2. 00018538_0002

Mary Webb. “To a Blackbird / Singing in London.” “Jan: 1922” crossed out. Manuscript poem, one leaf, 7½″ x 6¾″, on off-white wove paper. Fourteen lines, black ink, signed at the bottom: “Mary Webb” (crossed out). Webb’s aching nostalgia for her Shropshire home, and disillusionment with life in London are evident in this autobiographical poem. She laments: “O sing me far away, that I may hear / The voice of grass, and, weeping, may be blind / To slights and lies and friends that prove unkind. / Sing till my soul dissolves into a tear, / Glimmering within a chaliced daffodil.” After moving to London in 1921, Webb became desperately homesick for her native Shropshire “where the dignity and beauty of ancient things linger long.” Yet the stronger her need for literary recognition became, the more she also needed London and the literary contacts she maintained there.