Monday, January 27, 2014

I haven't updated the archive since last summer, and today is the day to remedy that lack. As luck would have it, I've reached what I think is the most beautiful poem in her collection. I like this first poem so much that I'll be including it The Conversation, although the one that follows is also lovely. Both are Jourdain at her best: focused, precise, patient, lyrical.

Watching the Meet

Milly Jourdain

The air is still so new and fresh and cold,
It makes a warm excitement in our hearts
To drive beside the sad and lonely fields.
And now we see a wider space of road
Where groups of horsemen moving restlessly
Are waiting for the quiet-footed hounds.
The hounds come swiftly, covering the way
Like foaming water surging round our feet.
And then with cries and sound of cracking whips
All, all are gone: the distant beat of hoofs
Like trailing smoke of dreams, comes fitfully
To tell how near they were a moment past.
But we see only winter trees again,
And turning homewards meet a drifting rain.

The End of a Hunting Day

Milly Jourdain

The dusk is creeping up the vale
While on the hill we rest,
And look across the wint'ry fields
Towards the dark'ning west.

A ringing sound comes changefully
Along the narrow way--
Some horsemen going to their homes,
After a hunting day.

They call "Good-night," and soon the dark
Has swallowed them from sight:
But still the sound lives on a while
Lingering like a light.

And now it all grows lonelier
Under the quiet sky,
Until some sparks of life shall come
And burn and then pass by.


  1. Dawn, I was searching for some basic biographical information about Milly Jourdain (full name--birth and married names, and years for each--and birth and death years) and I stumbled on your posted comments about Milly. You might be interested in this article: Archie Edward Heath (1887-1961), "Philip Edward Bertrand Jourdain", The Monist 30 #2 (April 1920), 161-182. I think this is freely available at . Pages 162-171 of this article has a lot of personal reminiscences, written by Milly, about Milly's and Philip's childhood and young adult years.

    1. Apparently URL's are erased in blog comments. You can find the JSTOR version of the article I mentioned by googling this combination of words and phrases: Philip Milly Jourdain "The Monist"