Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

Arrow Music by Bryher, an electronic edition

by W. Bryher [Bryher, Annie Winifred Ellerman]

date: 1922
source publisher: J. & E. Bumpus
collection: Early 20th Century Literature

Table of Contents

<< Poem Poem >>



I saw you,
looking for arrow reed;
I smelt you
in the marsh by the hyacinths;
I caught you where the colts nibble wind-flowers,
I sprang at you
by the lake.

You are slighter than arrow reed,
whiter than hyacinths;
is it crab-apple blossom I kiss
or your face ?

Ah - ha - ha- ha . . .
gulls answer your cry;
berry and beak,
wing-toss, wrist-circle meet.
I will smash you down with my force
on the frozen grass;
break your wild beauty
your ankles, your throat,
clasp you, mate you, master you,
till we sleep.


It is I who lift you,
Not stone nor spear but my strength,
the full power of all my Aprils in the snow,
the Junes in the clover fields;
all my hunts and my shouts,
the wrestle with boys in the sleet,
now I know why I faced bears and broke branches
at nut-harvest,
that I might be strong to break you, beautiful,
that I might be strong to lift you, kiss you,
as the earth, the sea, is strong
to bear violets and the rain.

My clumsy kisses . . .
ignorant hands.


I were no hunter
to love you and leave you
the blue mountain lilies,
the clouded blue bilberries
have a look of your eyes;
the gulls at the lake side
have caught your own gesture
as you chase the young colts
to the edge of the pines.

I am no hunter
to love you and leave you.
Bind moss round your feet,
cover your body,
lest I smell you and seize you,
and band you with lilies,
that the tribe and the forest
know you are mine.


I will fry for you
bear bones, marrow bones;
I will shake down rain for you
of cloudberries and corn;
find you cones of honey wax,
fill you a basket
of eggs the shape of rosebuds
tumbled on the lawn.

I will string for you,
white shells and mulberries,
and bring you yellow pansies
streaked with the black dawn.