Clifton Snider
Department of English, Emeritus
California State University, Long Beach
Poem about Christina Rossetti

Drawing in chalk of Christina Rossetti by her
brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1877.

Christina Rossetti

"Under the purple thyme and the purple clover
Sleeping at last."

               --Christina Rossetti, c. 1894

A dark Victorian room, a purple face.
Night fell. Christina Rossetti screamed.
She declared pussy-cats cavorted
on the black satin. She screamed
until the neighbors complained.

Hormones swarmed in her blood
like ivy in a Pre-Raphaelite painting;
visions of bearded men suffocated,
she denied herself the manly scent; and now
bitter memories of delirious fruit
(citrons, grapes, plums, dates,
pomegranates, figs, and so much more),
memories of goblin men, the consequences
of renunciation spewing out now in ghastly
female cries of final and bitter regret.

        --Clifton Snider
        (from The Alchemy of Opposites,
        Chiron Review Press, © 2000,
        all rights reserved)


Go to Art and Poetry.
Go to Art and Poetry II.
Go to Art and Poetry III.

Read my article about Christina Rossetti.
Read my article about the Brontë sisters.
Read my article about Emily Dickinson.
Read my article about Edward Lear.
Read my article about Lewis Carroll.
Read my article about Oscar Wilde's fairy tales.
Read my article about Wilde as an alcoholic and romance addict.
Read my article about Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.
Read my article on Brokeback Mountain.

To read more about my poetry, go to Clifton Snider, Poet, The Age of the Mother, The Alchemy of Opposites, and Aspens in the Wind.

Read about my novels: Loud Whisper, Bare Roots, and Wrestling with Angels: A Tale of Two Brothers.

Read my story, "Hilda."


Page last revised: 23 August 2009