The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1931
I had understood, somehow or other, that mine was to be a supplementary sketch, but I am asked now for a word on her literary style. She had in all her three books of poetry the knack of felicitous phrase. Her art was in verse what the water-colour is in painting. It was concerned more with aspects than with wholes. To that extent she was an expressionist. My own favourite of her poems might not by greater critics be considered her best. It is the bare little lament in the second book, ending: "I am not a mother," and written from a full heart in a Spring that promised fair, but fell back into Winter. Her third book was published a little while before her death. May I be permitted to quote "The Dewdrop" as an illustration of her style:—
"The leaf-end reached, and there the shining drop
Flattened itself and paused; then, pointing, fell
And splashed upon my hand and spilt itself
Of all its loveliness; and who could tell
From that wet spot upon my hand, that once,
Born of dark night and wandering cold air,
Had glowed a miracle of darting fire
Where now the leaf forsakenly is bare."
A few weeks before she died she brought me two pieces of prose, one of which seemed, and, passing the test of memory, still seems, her best work. It was called "Greengage Jam," and it was heavy with the live, hot sweetness of boiling greengages. I have no belief in auras for jams or persons, but that smell always seems to me a fiery, green smell, and it blew through every nook and cranny of the story. Her father, who was at once her inspiration and her judge, has spoken of a prose collection. Let us hope that it will come, and that it will contain "Greengage Jam." She was half-way through a play. I think I regret that most of all, for stronger than her poet- real sense was her dramatic sense, and she who had played so many parts could scarcely fail to place her lines and satisfy the niceties.
One of her poems on death ends, "Be certain, I shall come back." There is no need. To those who loved her she is still here.