In her second collection of verse, The Songbird, Helen Kinnear Wilson includes 26 poems on subjects as diverse as philosophy, love and friendship and more on University life. They are written as before with a love of variety in both form and style, and with an honest and direct approach to the subject chosen. Her father-in-law, Dr S.A. Kinnear Wilson is responsible for the simple but eloquent line drawings.
There are many poems which reveal her insight into life and those unseen aspects which only the poet’s eye can reach. In her first poem from which the title of the book is taken, the bird asks the Wind: “What shall I sing?”
The Wind answers: “Sing, if you will, of beauty, for beauty has healing hands. But the greatest of themes is life, as it is also the great mystery.”
The Wind then concludes: “I too have a song…I sing that life is not lived alone, – that in its pleasures and achievements, as in its failures and in its sorrows, shine eternal things.”
Her first collection, Cambridge Reflections, includes 30 poems, many perceptive reflections on the city and university of Cambridge, others which reveal her insight into life and those unseen aspects which only the poet’s eye can reach.
For example, in the opening poem, Inspiration she describes it thus: “Imagination rises in her springs and floods the mind with dark or crystal thought. Here are the limpid eyes of inner sight, seeing beyond what is, to what may be … But as a servant she is best portrayed, inspiring thinkers, poets, scientists. Her swirling waves of thought inform the world; so man advances to his destiny.”
Helen Kinnier Wilson’s poetry instinctively reflects the muse of imagination and “allows her swirling waves of thought to inform the world.” These are most delightful slim volumes to take on one’s travels and read slowly again and again.
Helen Kinnier Wilson was born in Chicago of English parents and spent her earlier years in Australia. Since then she has travelled extensively in Canada, the United States, Western Europe and the Middle East. In this selection of poetry, she writes with a sensitivity and a strength which brings a unique quality to her work. With her husband, an Assyriologist, she has lived in Cambridge since 1955.