Issue #158 / July 2021

Not a question but just thank you for actually loving my favourite female poet, Stevie Smith (issue #157). ‘Oblivion’ has always been my story.


What’s the point?



Dear Laura and Andrew,

‘Oblivion’ is indeed a wonderful and essential poem.



It was a human face in my oblivion

A human being and a human voice

That cried to me, Come back, come back, come back.

But I would not. I said I would not come back.


It was so sweet in my oblivion

There was a sweet mist wrapped me round about

And I trod in a sweet and milky sea, knee deep,

That was so pretty and so beautiful, growing deeper.


But still the voice cried out, Come back, come back,

Come back to me from sweet oblivion!

It was a human and related voice

That cried to me in pain. So I turned back.


I cannot help but like Oblivion better

Than being a human heart and human creature,

But I can wait for her, her gentle mist

And those sweet seas that deepen are my destiny

And must come even if not soon.




I especially love the lines —

‘It was a human and related voice / That cried to me in pain. So I turned back.’

To me, this goes some way toward explaining ‘the point’ — the point being our ‘relatedness’. The ‘sweet oblivion’ may be the solution to our separateness, but what calls the narrator to return from the ‘sweet and milky sea’ is the sublime but ordinary duty to our commonality and shared endeavour — life. 

Oh, and check out ‘The Galloping Cat’. Strange, dark and simply amazing.

Love, Nick


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