Christina Rossetti died almost a hundred years before I was born.
I think our hearts are kindred. Too bad we’re divided by space and time, because I would love to walk around with this kindred heart. But there’s something lovely and mystical about meeting her only in the words that she left behind. Walking around in her memory.
I just wrote a post called “Home”. It’s about feeling displaced, about my heart looking for home, about the turmoil of it all. These are lifelong themes for me.
Today I began reading some of Christina Rossetti’s poems in preparation for my role in Here Breaks the Heart. I am playing Christina Rossetti. The first one I read is called At Home. I read it and wept and wept. What a sweet relief to know I’m not alone. Someone else put exactly what I’m feeling into words that express it better than I could have expressed it myself. Here it is.
by: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
- WHEN I was dead, my spirit turned
- To seek the much-frequented house:
- I passed the door, and saw my friends
- Feasting beneath green orange boughs;
- From hand to hand they pushed the wine,
- They sucked the pulp of plum and peach;
- They sang, they jested, and they laughed,
- For each was loved of each.
- I listened to their honest chat:
- Said one: ‘To-morrow we shall be
- Plod plod along the featureless sands
- And coasting miles and miles of sea.’
- Said one: ‘Before the turn of tide
- We will achieve the eyrie-seat.’
- Said one: ‘To-morrow shall be like
- To-day, but much more sweet.’
- ‘To-morrow,’ said they, strong with hope,
- And dwelt upon the pleasant way:
- ‘To-morrow,’ cried they one and all,
- While no one spoke of yesterday.
- Their life stood full at blessed noon;
- I, only I, had passed away:
- ‘To-morrow and to-day,’ they cried;
- I was of yesterday.
- I shivered comfortless, but cast
- No chill across the tablecloth;
- I all-forgotten shivered, sad
- To stay and yet to part how loth:
- I passed from the familiar room,
- I who from love had passed away,
- Like the remembrance of a guest
- That tarrieth but a day.
- Thanks Miss Rossetti. I hope I honour your memory in this role.