by T. E. Hulme
(The fantasia of a fallen gentleman on a cold, bitter night.)
Once, in finesse of fiddles found I ecstasy,
In the flash of gold heels on the hard pavement.
Now see I
That warmth's the very stuff of poesy.
Oh, God, make small
The old star-eaten blanket of the sky,
That I may fold it round me and in comfort lie.
Hulme (pronounced 'Hume') is an interesting character: extraordinarily influential in his day in the fields of poetry, philosophy, and literary criticism, we nonetheless don't have a large body of work from him. There are only six of his poems extant, but one of them, "Autumn," was one of the paradigmatic poems of the Imagist movement, with which he was associated. He had an eventful sort of life; he was thrown out of Cambridge due to a scandalous affair, once he hung Wyndham Lewis upside down from a balcony in a fight about a woman, and as an artilleryman in World War I he was killed by an artillery shell at Oostduinkerke at the age of 34. He translated Bergson and Sorel, and wrote a fair number of essays in literary criticism and philosophy of literature, which comprise the bulk of his extant prose. It is to him that we owe the famous description of Romanticism as "spilt religion."