‘Pure, incidental song’
Your readers cannot have failed to detect the unsympathetic undertone running through Susan Sheridan’s politely disengaged account of my edition of Lesbia Harford’s poetry (ABR, November 2014), culminating as it did in the cool injunction to visit the Poetry Library website. Those lines from ‘Mortal Poems’ (‘I think each year should bring / Little fresh songs / Like flowers in spring etc.’) certainly seem to me to illustrate a belief in ‘pure, incidental song’, whatever Harford’s ‘passionate commitments’ may have been. Meanwhile, in her manuscripts, Harford dated her poems like diary entries – not for historical purposes – but rather, I think, as still points in her brief and often painful life. Readers are also directed to the poem ‘The Psychological Craze’ to learn more about Harford’s attitude towards history’s eagerness to tidy up the past.
Oliver Dennis, North Caulfield, Vic.