Hilda Conkling: Nine

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NINE

Do you know how nine comes?
The fairies have numbers, all my ages,
Sharp on a piece of card-board:
They cut out and spirit out my number,
Nine . . .
They come to the window softly . . .
Then they give it life . . . open the window.
It flies in, it bumps me on the forehead,
But does not wake me:
Just before morning breaks it fades back into my brain
And is my age.

Source: Hilda Conkling, Shoes of the Wind, A Book of Poems (1922), from Internet Archive.

Concerning Hilda Conkling

Artist unknown - Hilda Conkling (1920) - from Poems By a Little Girl (via Cadbury Research Library)

Artist unknown – Hilda Conkling (1920) – from Poems By a Little Girl (via Cadbury Research Library)

As a little girl, Hilda Conkling recited poems to her mother, Grace Hazard Conkling, who wrote them down. Grace would then, apparently without telling Hilda, publish some of them in journals and periodials, in particular in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. In the issue of September the 1st, 1919, there is an interesting correspondence about Hilda, then approaching her 9th birthday, her writing and her talent. CONTINUE READING…

Moss by Hilda Conkling

A beautiful collage by Patty Szymkowicz illustrating a poem by Hilda Conkling (from Shoes of the Wind, A Book of Poems).

Magpie's Nest ~*~ Patty Szymkowicz

1-march-poetry-collage1Here is my collage for the Paper Whimsy Poetry challenge, the lovely poem by Hilda Conkling was the inspiration, along with a special collage sheet provided by Gale

1-march-poem

Imagine a young girl (between the ages of 4 and 10) spouting forth lovely poetry like this

Hilda’s mother recorded her words for her

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Hilda Conkling’s formidable mother

When a child seems precocious and does things generally regarded as above the capacities of her age, one often wonders what role her parents did play in her achievements. Did she develop her gifts by herself, independently of any adult influence? Or did her parents encourage her talent? Or did they train her intensively like a circus animal in order to artificially create a genius? CONTINUE READING…

Hilda Conkling’s dreams of love

Jeremy Lipking - Adrift (2013) - from Art Renewal Center

Jeremy Lipking – Adrift (2013) – from Art Renewal Center

In her first volume Poems by a Little Girl (1920), Hilda Conkling wrote poems about dreams and others about roses and love. In her second volume Shoes of the Wind (1922), the topics of dreams, roses and love become united within two beautiful poems. Indeed, Hilda was no more a little girl, she entered into puberty, so her fantasies and desires took a more womanly form. Also the style of her poetry matured, with a quasi-adult sophistication. CONTINUE READING…

Hilda Conkling: Shoes of the Wind

Artist unknown – Hilda Conkling (1922) – from Shoes of the Wind

Artist unknown – Hilda Conkling (1922) – from Shoes of the Wind

Two years after Poems by a Little Girl in 1920, Hilda Conkling published her second book of verses: Shoes of the Wind, A Book of Poems. She was 12 years old when the book appeared, and the poems in it were probably written between the ages of 9 and 12. They show a great maturity, with a literary style generally close to that of adulthood. On the other hand, they seem more conventional than her early works in the first volume, where she could as a child let her imagination flow unfettered. CONTINUE READING…

Hilda Conkling: Rose-petals

Alfredo Rodriguez - At the rose garden - from alfredoartist.com

Alfredo Rodriguez – At the rose garden – from alfredoartist.com

The poem After Plotinus by Fabian Strachan Woodley tells of a “perfect, new blown rose” lost by a little flower-girl; four people, “souls blind and dull”, ignored it, but a fifth person “raised it, and bore it tenderly”; although “there was no beauty in the rose”, he “saw mirrored in the flower his own Mind Beautiful.” CONTINUE READING…

Dreaming in Hilda Conkling’s poetry

Henry Ryland - Two classical figures reclining (c.1890) - from All Paintings via Wikimedia Commons

Henry Ryland – Two classical figures reclining (c.1890) – from All Paintings via Wikimedia Commons

Poems by a Little Girl contains verses recited by Hilda Conkling to her mother when she was aged between four and nine. They remarkably combine the spontaneity and unfettered imagination of childhood with a mastery of poetic language rarely seen at that young age. A recurring theme in them is dreaming and dreams, and indeed she seizes this as an opportunity for speaking freely of anything in her mind. She often walked in her garden or on hills and in forests near her home, so dreams and the marvelous will generally blend with nature. CONTINUE READING…