In observance of Louisa May Alcott’s birthday, we’ll look at another woman writer.
Dilys Bennett Laing, born in North Wales in 1906, became an American citizen after marrying Dartmouth College graduate (and later professor) Alexander Laing. She was a writer, poet and artist until her untimely death in 1960. She was frequently published in ‘Poetry,’ ‘Nation,’ ‘The New Yorker,’ ‘The New York Times,’ and ‘Saturday Review.’
Her work reminds me of Dorothy Parker:
“Note to Charles Darwin
Sorrow took the swinging ape
and twisted it to human shape.”
But I also like one of her poems about a cat:
“Miao (excellent, mysterious, subtle)
I put down my book,
The Meaning of Zen,
and see the cat smiling
into her fur
as she delicately combs it
with her rough pink tongue.
“Cat, I would lend you this
book to study
but it appears that you have
already read it.”
She looks up and gives me
her full gaze.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she purrs.
“I wrote it.” ”
Perhaps I should attempt poetry. I do have the cat qualifications.