Saturday, March 5, 2011

Classic Poetry - (I am Lonely - George Elliot) Mary Anne Evans

I am Lonely

The world is great: the birds all fly from me,
The stars are golden fruit upon a tree
All out of reach: my little sister went,
And I am lonely.

The world is great: I tried to mount the hill
Above the pines, where the light lies so still,
But it rose higher: little Lisa went
And I am lonely.

The world is great: the wind comes rushing by.
I wonder where it comes from; sea birds cry
And hurt my heart: my little sister went,
And I am lonely.

The world is great: the people laugh and talk,
And make loud holiday: how fast they walk!
I'm lame, they push me: little Lisa went,
And I am lonely.

~ George Eliot

Mary Anne (Mary Ann, Marian) Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880)

If you search on YouTube there are 6 parts of a BBC special on this lady.  I have placed the first one below to pique your interest.  It is about a famous male poets who turns out to be a woman.  Forgive the subtitles but it is in English and well worth watching.

Now here is a very interesting lady!!  Mary Anne Evans wrote as George Eliot so that she could be taken more seriously as a writer.  She has many poems under many names.  She was a big fan of pen names but mostly used them to avoid the problems she created with her writing.  If you have not heard of "George" you really should look into her as she was a trailblazer and lightening rod for controversy.  A woman willing to take risks.  What are your thoughts on this poem? What are your thoughts on Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot)? Do you have any poems or anything else written by her you prefer? Please feel free to share your thoughts on either the poem displayed here or whichever version of the lady poet you wish in the comment section below.

Poets United posts a classic poem once weekly. We want to do this to introduce classic poets and their poems to our members. It is also a way to display different styles, genres and approaches to poetry. Our intent is to further expand the world of poetry while educating ourselves.

If you have a classic poem or set of prose you are fond of please let us know by emailing it to us at


  1. Beautiful classic poem... thanks for sharing :)

  2. I love the poem, simple yet profound, with a lovely meter to it. Thanks for posting.......

  3. I like Eliot's Two Lovers...

    Two lovers by a moss-grown spring:
    They leaned soft cheeks together there,
    Mingled the dark and sunny hair,
    And heard the wooing thrushes sing.
    O budding time!
    O love's blest prime!

    Two wedded from the portal stept:
    The bells made happy carolings,
    The air was soft as fanning wings,
    White petals on the pathway slept.
    O pure-eyed bride!
    O tender pride!

    Two faces o'er a cradle bent:
    Two hands above the head were locked:
    These pressed each other while they rocked,
    Those watched a life that love had sent.
    O solemn hour!
    O hidden power!

    Two parents by the evening fire:
    The red light fell about their knees
    On heads that rose by slow degrees
    Like buds upon the lily spire.
    O patient life!
    O tender strife!

    The two still sat together there,
    The red light shone about their knees;
    But all the heads by slow degrees
    Had gone and left that lonely pair.
    O voyage fast!
    O vanished past!

    The red light shone upon the floor
    And made the space between them wide;
    They drew their chairs up side by side,
    Their pale cheeks joined, and said, "Once more!"
    O memories!
    O past that is!

  4. I have been a fan of this remarkable woman for many years, so it was a real treat to come across your Poem of the Week! One does not see many references to George Eliot any more, yet her poetry always feels immediate and current to me. In our hectic and often impersonal work days, who could fail to identify with the palpable sense of isolation in this piece?

    So glad you posted this...a lovely reminder of the power words have to bring us together...


  5. I love this poem and the one that Kim posted here too...both wonderful a remarkable daring woman to risk in order to be heard and a great example to all...thank for highlighting her...I am going to watch this 6 part series...bkm

  6. I like this poem. Loneliness stings us more when we see others coming together and enjoying their togetherness. Very profound poem; and a very inspiring poetess.

  7. Sometimes a nom de plume is necessary, for all sorts of reasons. George Elliot used many, and for writers today, in stable democracies the use of a pseudonym may not be understood, but sexual politics, persecution and privacy are only a few of the obvious ones.


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