Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Grace Noll Crowell


I hadn't heard of Grace Noll Crowell until I came across one or two of her poems in old copies of Good Housekeeping magazine. To be honest, I hesitated before I put them on my blog, I thought that perhaps they were too sentimental to be good, that the modern homemaker might think them corny and unrealistic. However, I found the poetry to be quite uplifting, and it had a gentle quality that really spoke to me. And, isn't that meant to be the mark of good poetry? Words which speak to the heart of the reader, words that can speak to the soul? I read an awful lot of early twentieth century literature by women writers, it's of good quality, and is more engaged in discussing the choices women face than much of contemporary women's literature. But above all, this literature is honest, funny and intelligent without being cynical...and although I can read the scenes of trauma and degradation portrayed in modern books with confidence and understanding, I cannot abide the tone of cynicism so often employed by much of what makes The Booker shortlist! Anyway, I'm rambling...more to the point I'm being a bit "Daily Mail" about the whole subject, so I'll publish the Crowell poems and leave it up to you to decide whether you like them as much as I do! The second poem was found when I was trawling through the internet looking for more poems and found one on a homemaking blog! So hat tip to both Nesting Cottage and Morning Ramble who both appreciate Grace Noll Crowell's poetry too!

I Have Found Such Joy in Simple Things

I have found such joy in simple things;

A plain, clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread

A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,

The shelter of a roof above my head,

And in a leaf-laced square along the floor,

Where yellow sunlight glimmers through a door.

I have found such joy in things that fill

My quiet days: a curtain's blowing grace,

A potted plant upon my window sill,

A rose, fresh-cut and placed within a vase;

A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,

And books I long have loved beside me there.

Oh, I have found such joys I wish I might

Tell every woman who goes seeking far

For some elusive, feverish delight,

That very close to home the great joys are:

The elemental things--old as the race,

Yet never, through the ages, commonplace.


A Prayer for Womanhood
~Grace Noll Crowell~
1934

God, give each true good woman
Her own small house to keep,
No heart should ache with longing,
No hurt should go too deep.....
Grant her age-old desire:
A house to love and sweep.
Give her a man beside her,
A kind man, and a true,
And let them work together
And love, a lifetime through,
And let her mother children
As gentle women do.
Give her a shelf for dishes,
And a shining box for bread,
A white cloth for her table,
And a white spread for her bed,
A shaded lamp at nightfall,
And a row of books much read.
God, let her work with laughter,
And let her rest with sleep.
No life can truly offer
A peace more sure and deep....
God, give each true woman
Her own small house to keep

Oh, here and here are the links to the poetry already published on my blog.

14 comments:

Niki RuralWritings said...

Loved them both! Are there more?
thank you so much for sharing them.

Linnet's Nest said...

I think they're great...for me the simpler the poetry the better I'm a simple soul.

Hugs.

Jenny said...

So lovely. I really love them both.

Linnet's Nest said...

...I nearly put Blackbird on my playlist too...oh got the Mama Cass one too. I nearly put the All About Eve version of She Moves Through the Fair but I remembered my Dad calling the AAE version a dirge and wasn't sure if visitors would feel rather depressed at my blog!

Good tunes chuck.

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Niki
Thank you for visiting! There are two more published on my blog, one called "Bread" and one call "The Evening Meal". I'll fix the links to them, so you can access them easily.

Hi Linnet
You're right it is nice and simple, but I thought well done. Oh, I forgot all about AAE! Julie Anne Regan(sp?) had such a great voice! Your dad's got some cheek! A Genesis fan talking about dirges!

Hi Jenny
I thought you may like them. The first one is my favourite, I thought it was lovely.

Linnet's Nest said...

I was quite a big AAE fan during my hippy/goth/grunge phase as a teenager. Saw them in concert they're very good.

Linnet's Nest said...

Vis a vis you comment on my blog, which I've responded to but I meant to add, yo, yo, check this out dude http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/sounds/text-only/england/read/
Westside!

Hahahahahha a weak attempt to speak like the youngsters of today *cough*

p.s. did you get my email yesterday? I don't say this to force you to make some kind of deep response, only as I've said before our email plays up intermittently and I didn't want you to think I was ignoring your question.

TTFN xx

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Linnet

That is a cool site! I love this stuff!

Oh, and I did email you back. Methinks you have a gremlin in your email.

Linnet's Nest said...

Doesn't he just have the most fantastic accent? My Lancashire accent isn't as strong at all, I don't over emphasise my r's. He sounds very much like my cousins from Burnley...except I've never heard 'ewes' pronounced 'ows'. Do you think his interviewer understood a word he was saying? I had to giggle at the 'hmmm' every so often you can almost hear him mentally saying "what?? eh? what? speak English boy! :)

Great stuff...couldn't you just have a career doing things like that? These people are a dying breed, we're all being Americanised by TV (not that there's anything wrong with being american it's just a shame culturally).

jan said...

Came across your blog in my search for another Grace Noll Crowell. I don't have a title, just the recollection of a friend, who thinks the poem appeared in Farm Journal in the 1940's. She has most of what was printed memorized; yet, we don't know if the poem appeared in its entirety or not.

First printed line is: "Sometimes I come awake at night."

Can somebody supply the title and/or entire poem?

Jan in Iowa

Susanna said...

@Jan... could this be it?

A WIFE TO HER HUSBAND

Sometimes I wake at night
From dreaming that you are dead,
And there is nothing left
To be done or said.

And there is nothing more
To be thought at all,
There is but the night
And a blackened wall.

Then groping, blind, I reach
Across a still dark space,
And my fingertips
Touch your form, your face,

To find it warm in sleep!
The smother and the fear
Dies like a lamp blown out,
O, my dear, my dear...

(Reprinted in "Silver in the Sun" by Grace Noll Crowell)

MARTHA said...

Glad to find your blog. I love Grace Noll Crowell. WAIT and TO ONE IN SORROW are two of my favorites.

jcdeben said...

I am looking for the poem "Tulips." My mother Martha Moore set it to music in the late 1920's. Evidently some water was spilled on the score, and I can't make out several of the words. I would REALLY appreciate some help. What I have been able to decipher is:

Tulips in my window for all the world to see.
Red and yellow tulips ______ __ _______ __ __.

I would believe in any folk, whatever their neighbor said. With Tulips in the window and a little garden bed.

I would marry any man and serve him with a will
Who living all alone should plant Tulips on his sill.

I would love to be able to sing Mother's song - but I need help filling in the blanks!

Tim said...

Am looking for the GNC poem with the line: "I had an hour of glory upon a windswept hill one day." Please email at urbanhomestead@aol.com

Best,
Tim