I would like to start providing an assortment of poems by Patience Worth. Perhaps it is appropriate to start the recitation with poems of love and friendship. The following poems by Patience Worth are some of my favorites. I hope you will like them too.
Can I then hope to tear from out my heart the song ‘twould tell thee?
Were I to sing to the woodland, ‘twould be thy song.
Or should I pipe of happy days when thou wert absent from my life,
Thoud’st creep within the singing and every note be thine.
Or should I make a song unto my saddest season,
Thou still would’st sing, e’en through my sorrowing.
Thou who art but the essence of my song’s wine
Hast blossomed long before, within its very grape,
And ripened with my season’s heat and cold.
Who then denies that from my first voiced crooning,
Thou hast been the vibrant chord?
The following poem was untitled as were all of her poems when delivered but were usually given titles by those close to Pearl Curran, including Emily Hutchings, John Curran, Casper Yost and others. This poem was a personal poem dictated for Herman Behr a devoted friend and benefactor of Pearl Curran. After John Curran died on June 1, 1922, Herman Behr provided Pearl Curran and her two girls a stipend of $400 per month for a number of years. Herman Behr published a collection of poems of Patience Worth titled Light From Beyond in 1923. He also translated them into German. Max Behr, a son of Herman Behr, graduate of Yale University and renown California architect of golf courses and editor and writer for Golf Illustrated & Outdoor America, assisted Pearl Curran after she moved to Los Angeles in 1930. He participated in sessions with Patience Worth and edited some of her work. After Pearl Curran died in 1937 Max Behr married Pearl’s adopted daughter Patience “Wee” who had been divorced from Gerald Peters with whom she had one child named “Hope”. Max Behr also cared for Pearl’s biological daughter, Eileen Curran who joined Max and Patience Wee in his home in Los Angeles County. Max Behr was 33 years older than Patience “Wee” when he married her in 1939. Patience “Wee” died in an alcoholic stuper on November 23, 1943 in Los Angeles, six years after Pearl Curran. Eileen Curran married three times and died in 1982 in New Orleans, Louisana. Max Behr had two grown daughters when he married Patience “Wee”; Lisbeth, born in 1906 and Evelyn born in 1908. His first wife Evelyn Baker Schely died in 1919. Max Behr died in 1955.
Although there are some who write negatively about Max Behr and his relationship with Pearl Curran and her girls, I think he is grossly maligned in that he assumed a large responsibility when, as an older man with two grown children, he took on the care (and treatment) of Patience “Wee” and Eileen after their mother died. Reportedly, the teen-age Eileen thought that Max was a “generous but domineering man” and that he “thought he was Christ.”
I think he had all that he could handle to keep these two young spoiled girls in bounds.
WHAT MAGIC IS THINE,BELOVED?
What magic is thine, beloved?
Lo, had the day become a worn thing
And the vessels of office trinkets
Of memory. What magic is thine?
Beneath the spell of thy voice have I
Walked upon the sands of morning
Which embrace Day, and found new toys
Awaiting me, new music in the waters,
New songs in the air, new peace
In the quietude, new simplicity
In confusion. Each morrow is exultant
And I expectant. I am comrade
With all days, no longer woeful
O’er yesterdays or fretful o’er tomorrows
Save in anticipation of new joys!
What magic is thine, beloved?
It is as though I had come fresh
From the conflict with bloody head,
With bruised hands and heavy feet,
With mine armour oppressing me—
It is as though I had come to thy side,
And felt thy gentle touch upon my brow,
Watched thy slender hands unthong
My coat of mail, and weary,
Dropped my head upon thy breast, secure
In the serenity of thy voice.
One of my favorites, the one which was read as part of my marriage ceremony is the following poem:
Beloved, I do not believe that I
Might know God’s mercy so intimately,
Save that I had known—thee!
I do not believe that my soul
Might have been so deep, so pit-like deep,
Had I not known and contained—thee!
Beloved, I might not hope—
Had I not heard thy pledge!
Nor could I have believed,
Save that I had believed in thee!
I could not believe that I
Might comprehend eternity,
Save that I had known thy limitless love!
Surely, Thou art the symbol of my New Day—
Wherein I might read
The record of my eternity!