To take away: Anger’s freeing power

A poem by Stevie Smith

Anger’s freeing power

I had a dream three walls stood up wherein a raven bird Against the walls did beat himself and was not this absurd?

For sun and rain beat in that cell that had its fourth wall free And daily blew the summer shower and the rain came presently

And all the pretty summer time and all the winter too That foolish bird did beat himself till he was black and blue.

Rouse up, rouse up, my raven bird, fly by the open wall You make a prison of a place that is not one at all.

I took my raven by the hand, Oh come, I said, my Raven, And I will take you by the hand and you shall fly to heaven.

But oh he sobbed and oh he sighed and in a fit he lay Until two fellow ravens came and stood outside to say:

You wretched bird, conceited lump You well deserve to pine and thump.

See now a wonder, mark it well My bird rears up in angry spell,

Oh do I then? he says, and careless flies O’er flattened wall at once to heaven’s skies.

And in my dream I watched him go And I was glad, I loved him so,

Yet when I woke my eyes were wet To think Love had not freed my pet,

Anger it was that won him hence As only anger taught him sense.

Often my tears fall in a shower Because of Anger’s freeing power.