Patricia Beer. The Lost Woman

In our literature class, with our teacher Pato Chujman, we started working on our last poem of the year, The Lost Woman. This is the poem and information about the author (Patricia Beer). I did this assignments with Federika Marty and Silvestre Braun.

The Poem:

My mother went with no more warning
than a bright voice and a bad pain.
Home from school on a June morning
And where the brook goes under the lane
I saw the back of a shocking white
Ambulance drawing away from the gate.

She never returned and I never saw
Her buried. So a romance began.
The ivy-mother turned into a tree
That still hops away like a rainbow down
The avenue as I approach.
My tendrils are the ones that clutch.

I made a life for her over the years.
Frustrated no more by a dull marriage
She ran a canteen through several wars.
The wit of a cliché-ridden village
She met her match at an extra-mural
Class and the OU summer school.

Many a hero in his time
And every poet has acquired
A lost woman to haunt the home,
To be compensated and desired,
Who will not alter, who will not grow,
A corpse they need never get to know.

She is nearly always benign. Her habit
Is not to stride at dead of night.
Soft and crepuscular in rabbit-
Light she comes out. Hear how they hate
Themselves for losing her as they did.
Her country is bland and she does not chide.

But my lost woman evermore snaps
From somewhere else: ‘You did not love me.
I sacrificed too much perhaps,
I showed you the way to rise above me
And you took it. You are the ghost
With the bat-voice, my dear. I am not lost.’


About Patricia…

  • was born on the 4th of November, in Exmouth, 1919, Devon
  • a childhood she recalls vividly
  • she moved to Italy lecturing in English and later taught at Goldsmith’s College.
  • She began her writing career in the 50s and was at first influenced by the poetics of the preceding decade
  • Following her marriage (a writer) she moved back to the county of her birth and lived there until her death in 1999.
  • Wrote critics about literature

We were also asked to search about Contemporary Literature, it’s characteristics:

  • Reflects current trends in life and culture.
  • Reflects the author’s perspective.
  • Multiple narrators.
  • Literature that comments upon itself.
  • A mixture of pastiche of subjects and genres.
  • Experimentation with form and structure.
  • Modern narrative.
  • Contains a harsher reality.
  • Influenced by World War 2.
  • It is informal.
  • Sometimes it shows 2 different arguments.

This is a video about contemporary literature: