The ‘Senseless’ Tree| A Poem

Must be a week for poetry! From T.S.Eliot to Aemilia Lanyer in the space of just a few days! I wrote this poem for an assignment, and got an ‘outstanding’ for it. We were tasked with choosing one of the seventeenth-century poets we had studied this semester, and writing a response in the style of the work itself that addresses an issue raised in that poem. I chose Aemilia Lanyer’s ‘A Description of Cook-ham‘.

the 'senseless' tree pinterest

Aemilia is so adept at the old iambic pentameter, that some say she may have been the actual writer of some of Shakespeare’s works. Certainly women were victims of patriarchy at the time, and writing was considered manly work. Aemilia went right on ahead and published her own book of poems in 1611, something unheard of for a woman in those days. Maybe that’s why I like her so much! =-D

A Description of Cook-ham
About Aemilia

My response to A Description of Cook-ham by Aemilia Lanyer

Fair lady, hark to my wisdom; this I
Have observed, rooted here ‘twixt earth and sky.
You think to disguise mankind’s foul actions
With your ode to his garden’s attractions,
While yon great pile of bricks you hold so dear
Is but a monument to greed and fear.
Into the arms of nature didst you flee
To find sanctuary with her and me.
You learned joy in the beauty and power
Of bird and beast, and in tree and flower.
You kept us silent, yet gave us human hearts,
But we do not weep for her when she departs.
You, who are naught but a villainous thief,
What could you possibly know of our grief?
The Bard’s paramour, his muse, and his pen,
Your frail female flesh betrays you again.
Hand in hand, a kiss so sweet and so chaste,
Looks hidden in books, an arm round a waist
Caged in whalebone, yearning to be free,
Burning with desire for what can never be.
Take it, if that is who you truly are.
Mayhap it is too soon, a step too far.
So go then, leave this place, do as you ought,
Surrender to man, dutiful consort.
Put aside the books that you so adore;
Knowledge is power, meant for you no more.
Know your proper place, for this is your worth:
To serve, be silent, obey and give birth.
And think you fondly of that ‘senseless’ tree
And know that, of we two, I am more free.

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35 Comments on “The ‘Senseless’ Tree| A Poem

  1. I love this Ali. No wonder you were given ‘outstanding’ for it.I love the rhythm and flow of it, as well as the message. My favourite lines are ‘Caged in whalebone, yearning to be free, Burning with desire for what can never be. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The ‘Senseless’ Tree| A Poem – lampmagician

  3. Hi Ali, is it too far off the mark to think the modern-day version of Aemilia’s poem then your reply, perhaps would be Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana with the response being Candle in the Wind, or Goodbye England’s Rose? Or is Dorset not in the same league or have the same character as the modern two people? Well done on the outstanding mark, you did a great job. And are you going to do a short Christmas story, in which I have a slightly better idea of what’s going on than in poetry which is just about always senseless to me? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! Colin you are so funny! This poem is full of allusions, to Aemilia’s poem and the themes in it, and also rumours of her life, which is why I linked to a copy of her poem and her life story so far as it can be determjned. Yes, the short story is coming next week, and this one will have a definite ending, although in true Irish tragic style, its neither happy or without drama! So I’m not sure whether you’ll find it senseless or not! 😂🤣😊


    • Thanks David! That’s a huge compliment. You could say Aemilia was one of the first feminists, and I like her for that, as well as the fact she was a talented poet whose arts were never fully appreciated, at least not in her day. Now she’s being studied in universities, I bet she never imagined that! 😀 Huge hugs to you! Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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