I Can Remember Still the Sun: A Poem by Gamel Woolsey

Dido and Aeneas. Pierre-Narcisse Guérin. Oil on canvas, c. 1851.

Gamel Woolsey uses one of Vergil’s most famous lines from The Aeneid as inspiration for her imposing yet brief poem:

“Forsan et Haec Olim Meminisse Iuvabit”
(“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to remember even this…”)

Why should you feel remorse, regret,
For what was beautiful to me,
As uncommanded as the sea?
The winds blew and the waters sang
All summer: now that summer’s done
I can remember still the sun
That lay upon the mountain grass,
And all the beauty that there was –
Only remember what was fair,
And what was wild and innocent;
The rest is blown upon the air.

Woolsey was born in South Carolina in the United States and lived in New York City for a while before moving permanently to England.  Her love affair with Llewelyn Powys prompted her to take up residence near him in Dorset.  She later married writer Gerald Brenan and they lived together in Spain and England until her death in 1968.

While visiting my favorite bookshop in Maine I came across one of Woolsey’s novels, One Way of Love,  published posthumously in 1987 by Virago Press.  I am hoping to read it before the end of summer.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “I Can Remember Still the Sun: A Poem by Gamel Woolsey

  1. jamescraigvickers

    Thank you for posting this poem, which I found achingly beautiful. I had never heard of Gamel Woolsey until now, but am eager to find out more. Also I was wondering if you could recommend an English translation of Catullus. I read an article in The Guardian last Sunday about The Elegy which mentioned Catullus, and I would love to read more. Thanks, Craig

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what I love about the Virago series. They publish these authors that would otherwise be completely forgotten. I think the Oxford World’s edition of Catullus is pretty good. It’s modern but still fairly close to the Latin. Happy reading!

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  2. What a beautiful poem, thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Readerlane

    Thank you for sharing this. I only know Gamel Woolsey through her husband’s memoirs, where she plays a rather minor role (perhaps for privacy reasons). The poem gives quite a different idea of her. Look forward to your further thoughts on her writing.

    Like

  4. Beautiful poem, Melissa – thank you for sharing. Woolsey certainly had an interesting life, but I’m not sure I’d read any of her poetry before, only her memoir. Obviously her verse is worth searching out.

    Liked by 1 person

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