Arthur Symons

Welcome back to our Richmond Read-along! Today we’ll be reading a piece from Arthur Symons. Symons is a poet associated with the Symbolist and Decadent movements, both of which explored metaphor and emotion in opposition to materialism. Much has been made of the similarities between these movements, and the differences between them often come down to the term preferred by an individual. For his part, Symons first posited decadence as the defining term before coming to prefer symbolist.

Symons wrote much of his poetry during his early life, before a breakdown that led to his artistic output suffering. He continued to produce a variety of work but never regained his intense poetic creativity of his early years.

The piece for today’s read-along is “Amends to Nature:”

“I have loved colours, and not flowers;
Their motion, not the swallows wings;
And wasted more than half my hours
Without the comradeship of things.

How is it, now, that I can see,
With love and wonder and delight,
The children of the hedge and tree,
The little lords of day and night?

How is it that I see the roads,
No longer with usurping eyes,
A twilight meeting-place for toads,
A mid-day mart for butterflies?

I feel, in every midge that hums,
Life, fugitive and infinite,
And suddenly the world becomes
A part of me and I of it.”

This poem, and others by Symons, can be found at My Poetic Side. Members of Richmond Borough Libraries can read more about Arthur Symons in his Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article here.

Join us tomorrow for the next Richmond Read-along!