Stevie Smith

(20 September 1902 – 7 March 1971 / Kingston upon Hull)

Mother, Among the Dustbins


Mother, among the dustbins and the manure
I feel the measure of my humanity, an allure
As of the presence of God, I am sure

In the dustbins, in the manure, in the cat at play,
Is the presence of God, in a sure way
He moves there. Mother, what do you say?

I too have felt the presence of God in the broom
I hold, in the cobwebs in the room,
But most of all in the silence of the tomb.

Ah! but that thought that informs the hope of our kind
Is but an empty thing, what lies behind? --
Naught but the vanity of a protesting mind

That would not die. This is the thought that bounces
Within a conceited head and trounces
Inquiry. Man is most frivolous when he pronounces.

Well Mother, I shall continue to think as I do,
And I think you would be wise to do so too,
Can you question the folly of man in the creation of God?
Who are you?

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Mother, Among the Dustbins by Stevie Smith )

  • Rookie - 37 Points Colleen Courtney (5/18/2014 12:21:00 PM)

    An interesting poem by the poet. And ending with that age old question....who are you? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Igor Paltsev (6/15/2009 4:34:00 PM)

    I wrote music to this poem, eventually I would like to record all of Stevie's works

    You can hear it here
    http: //www.ilike.com/artist/Igor+Paltsev (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

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