Fabian Strachan Woodley: Viola’s Birthday

František Kupka - Andrée (1906) - from novelactivist.com

František Kupka – Andrée (1906) – from novelactivist.com

Fabian Strachan Woodley was a poet of the Uranian Movement, he worshiped young boys. His only volume of poetry, A Crown of Friendship, is to a large part devoted to celebrating the boys he loved. He nevertheless included in it a poem about a young girl.

Here a girl named Viola celebrates her 10th birthday. Apparently she receives as gifts many beautiful pieces of clothing and jewelry: a robe, a gown, a cap, a ring, a scarf and a purse. But … they are not made by human hands, they come from the simple beauty of nature: dawning, sea-mist, shadows, sunbeams, morning dew, pollen, etc. Thus she does not get real clothes, and she might as well be naked. Indeed, Viola simply receives her own beauty, a gift brought by fairies. They offer her also magical treasures, “a Book of Dreams and Fancies”, “a chain of silent moonbeams” with “a chime of flower bells ringing”, an “amber shell” whose song “No musicians’ art unbinds”, “a vase of crystal water / From the Magic Well of Truth”, and “Last, and Best, a Box of Laughter, / Life and Love, and rose-red Youth!”

In the poem After Plotinus, Woodley puts spiritual beauty above physical appearance. Here he tells us that more important than material riches, the most important gift is the natural beauty, happiness, life and love of youth.

Viola’s Birthday

Viola is ten today,
♥ ♥ All good fairies gifts have brought –
Come with me to see the treasures
♥ ♥ Fairy hands have wrought!

Here’s a robe of pearly dawning
♥ ♥ Fringed with fleecy white sea-mist,
Lined with velvet, stolen at morning
♥ ♥ From a dusky rose, sun-kissed;

Here’s a gown of purple shadows
♥ ♥ Woven at the dusk of night,
Trimmed with amethyst and rose
♥ ♥ From peak-tops at earliest light;

Here’s a cap of mellow sunbeams
♥ ♥ Shot with skies of summer blue,
And a ring of kingcup yellow
♥ ♥ Diamonded with morning dew;

Here’s a peach-bloom scarf, and purse
♥ ♥ Of pollen from a lily flower,
And a Book of Dreams and Fancies
♥ ♥ Culled in some forgotten hour;

Here’s a chain of silent moonbeams
♥ ♥ Set in flakes of innocent snow,
And a chime of flower bells ringing
♥ ♥ Down the Night wind, faint and low.

In this amber shell lie sleeping
♥ ♥ Songs of all the fluted winds,
Songs so strangely wrapped in slumber
♥ ♥ No musicians’ art unbinds!

Here’s a vase of crystal water
♥ ♥ From the Magic Well of Truth –
Last, and Best, a Box of Laughter,
♥ ♥ Life and Love, and rose-red Youth!

Source of the poem: A Crown of Friendship on the Fabian S. Woodley site.
Credits: Thanks to ‘A.’ for drawing my attention to Woodley, this poem and the above website.

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