In this installment, R. Erica Doyle reads “Sonnet LXX” [From Elegiac Sonnets] by Charlotte Turner Smith. Doyle was born in Brooklyn after the riots of '68. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Callaloo, Ploughshares, Best Black Women's Erotica, Bum Rush the Page, Ms. Magazine, and is forthcoming in Bloom, Our Caribbean: Writing by LGBT Writers of the Antilles, and Quotes Community: Notes for Black Poets. She has received grants and awards from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is a fellow of Cave Canem: A Workshop and Retreat for Black Writers.
Charlotte Turner Smith, "Sonnet LXX" [From Elegiac Sonnets]
On being cautioned against walking over a headland
overlooking the sea, because it was frequented by a
IS there a solitary wretch who hies
To the tall cliff, with starting pace or slow,
And, measuring, views with wild and hollow eyes
Its distance from the waves that chide below;
Who, as the sea-born gale with frequent sighs
Chills his cold bed upon the mountain turf,
With hoarse, half utter'd lamentation, lies
Murmuring responses to the dashing surf?
In moody sadness, on the giddy brink,
I see him more with envy than with fear;
He has no nice felicities that shrink
From giant horrors; wildly wandering here,
He seems (uncursed with reason) not to know
The depth or the duration of his woe.