Elizabeth Siddal: Art and Poetry

A Silent Wood

The Poems of Elizabeth Siddal

A Silent Wood

O silent wood, I enter thee
With a heart so full of misery
For all the voices from the trees
And the ferns that cling about my knees.

In thy darkest shadow let me sit
When the grey owls about thee flit;
There will I ask of thee a boon,
That I may not faint or die or swoon.

Gazing through the gloom like one
Whose life and hopes are also done,
Frozen like a thing of stone
I sit in thy shadow but not alone.

Can God bring back the day when we two stood
Beneath the clinging trees in that dark wood?

3 Comments

  • Mike Beard

    I’ve just read through all Lizzy’s poems again, finishing with ‘A Silent Wood’, and I find it more and more moving and dramatic every time I read it! it seems to empty the mind of all other thoughts and you find yourself so upset by the tragedy and the hell that Lizzy was going through, you just wish you could go back in time and try and help her. This particular poem is a masterpiece of emotional interpretation – you really understand what the girl is going through. It’s strange how a poem like this can almost bring you to tears – yet you keep reading it – again and again!
    Thank you for your beautiful website Stephanie, I love calling in on it whenever I’m thinking along Pre-Raphaelite lines

  • Amy Wing

    “The irresponsive silence of the land,
    The irresponsive sounding of the sea
    Speak both one message of one sense to me:–
    Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
    Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
    Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
    But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?
    What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?–
    And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
    And sometimes I remember days of old
    When fellowship seemed not so far to seek
    And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
    And at the rainbow’s foot lay surely gold,
    And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.” Christina Rossetti

    I am completely inspired by the way these two women Christina and Elizabeth maintained their faih in the face of the death of worldly hope, and, for Elizabeth in particular, but for both, little did they know how meaningful their life would become to others when/while they felt so insignificant… Beautiful.

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