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  • Writer's pictureNazifa Islam

Virginia Woolf Found Poems in Bone Bouqet

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

I have two Virginia Woolf found poems in the Fall 2016 issue of Bone Bouquet! You can find background on these poems in this past blog post, which talks about the project and directs you to where you can read three already published poems. To read "Always Him" and "I Cannot Return," you'll have to purchase a copy of Bone Bouquet 7.2.

Since I've started publishing these poems, I've been using blog posts to share the almost-end-result of my found poem process. I did this for the three poems published in Fourth & Sycamore as well as for the one in Phantom Drift. So, for Bone Bouquet, here are the paragraphs I used to write the two poems with the words I ended up choosing highlighted. Both are from Woolf's The Waves.

"Always Him"

'But Bernard goes on talking. Up they bubble—images. "Like a camel,"…"a vulture." The camel is a vulture; the vulture a camel; for Bernard is a dangling wire, loose, but seductive. Yes, for when he talks, when he makes his foolish comparisons, a lightness comes over one. One floats, too, as if one were that bubble; one is freed; I have escaped, one feels. Even the chubby little boys (Dalton, Larpent and Baker) feel the same abandonment. They like this better than the cricket. They catch the phrases as they bubble. They let the feathery grasses tickle their noses. And then we all feel Percival lying heavy among us. His curious guffaw seems to sanction our laughter. But now he has rolled himself over in the long grass. He is, I think, chewing a stalk between his teeth. He feels bored; I too feel bored. Bernard at once perceives that we are bored. I detect a certain effort, an extravagance in his phrase, as if he said "Look!" but Percival says "No." For he is always the first to detect insincerity; and is brutal in the extreme. The sentence tails off feebly. Yes, the appalling moment has come when Bernard's power fails him and there is no longer any sequence and he sags and twiddles a bit of string and falls silent, gaping as if about to burst into tears. Among the tortures and devastations of life is this then—our friends are not able to finish their stories.'"

"I Cannot Return"

"'What with the chorus, and the spinning water and the just perceptible murmur of the breeze we are slipping away. Little bits of ourselves are crumbling. There! Something very important fell then. I cannot keep myself together. I shall sleep. But we must go; must catch our train; must walk back to the station—must, must, must. We are only bodies jogging along side by side. I exist only in the soles of my feet and in the tired muscles of my thighs. We have been walking for hours it seems. But where? I cannot remember. I am like a log slipping smoothly over some waterfall. I am not a judge. I am not called upon to give my opinion. Houses and trees are all the same in this grey light. Is that a post? Is that a woman walking? Here is the station, and if the train were to cut me in two, I should come together on the further side, being one, being indivisible. But what is odd is that I still clasp the return half of my ticket to Waterloo firmly between the fingers of my right hand, even now, even sleeping."

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