/+/ Sonnet For Alexandra "Xie" Kitchin Cardew

[29 September 1864 – 6 April 1925]

 

When photographed in 1923,

did you, perhaps, think of that earlier

friend (older than you were; photographer---

professor of mathematics---bachelor)?

His final pictures of your adolescence

(before the time of quiet hostility)

preserved your beauty past the evanescence

of ordinary human memory.

Alice well understood how you were favored

(although the fact is not one she has savored).

She barks about it like a terrier

courageous when behind a high, stone fence:

wroth that she cannot injure or deter

your courteous, serene indifference.

 

Starward

 

[jlc]

Author's Notes/Comments: 

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=kitchin&GSfn=alexandra&GSiman=1&GScid=658430&GRid=134171358&

 

This weblink goes to Find A Grave's site on Putney Vale Cemetery, where Xie Kitchin's remains are.  The page includes two strinking photographs---one taken in 1923, when she was fifty-nine, and one from her adolescence taken by Lewis Carroll.  This latter photograph, that i have never seen before (although I have collected her pictures since about 2004) is one of the finest, and her gaze into the camera is both coy and erotic, but also totally chaste and modest.

View q.v.'s Full Portfolio