"I Tried My Best To Do What I Felt."

I have been thinking about Virginia Woolf, today. Not only because it is the anniversary of her birthday, or because I have spent the morning rereading excerpts from her A Room Of One's Own, a book that has truly changed the way I perceive writing and, specifically, women and writing. Whenever I think of Virginia though, I am always drawn to the madness and the anguish that she felt on that day of March 1941. I see her wearing an overcoat, filling her pockets with rocks and heading resolutely towards the River Ouse to kill herself. But, the words that come to my mind are those by Frida Kahlo, in a letter explaining why she had painted The Suicide of Dorothy Hale in such a realistic way. "I tried my best to do what I felt," she wrote. I can't help thinking Virginia's thoughts and very words might have been the same in that time of agony. So true considering her writing and so true considering her nature. I must make this the subject of a new poem.

Patti Smith, The River Ouse, 2003


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