A favorite poem offering #1 – “In Progress” by Christina G. Rossetti

The idea for this post just occurred out of nowhere.

No. Really. I honestly don’t know what made me think of it.

Quite possibly because I’ve just been thinking about writing in general.


I don’t know.

Anyway. More after the poem.


by Christina G. Rossetti (1830 – 1894)

Ten years ago it seemed impossible
That she should ever grow so calm as this,
With self-remembrance in her warmest kiss
And dim dried eyes like an exhausted well.
Slow-speaking when she had some fact to tell,
Silent with long-unbroken silences,
Centered in self yet not unpleased to please,
Gravely monotonous like a passing bell.
Mindful of drudging daily common things,
Patient at pastime, patient at her work,
Wearied perhaps but strenuous certainly.
Sometimes I fancy we may one day see
Her head shoot forth seven stars from where they lurk
And her eyes lightnings and her shoulders wings.



Back in third or fourth grade, I remember the class learning and/or reading about poetry. The lesson was presented in a magazine-type of handout, like Highlights, only it wasn’t an issue of Highlights (anybody else remember Highlights?); we were not allowed to keep the magazines at the end of the class period.

Of course, all my other classmates were wholly uninterested, choosing instead to spout off naughty limericks and juvenile poetry or stuff by Shel Silverstein (who is really not a bad writer at all but, for whatever reason, he has always weirded me out, even when I was younger; couldn’t tell you why).

Sitting in the midst of all that, I was quietly copying all the Christina Rossetti poems out of the magazine onto sheets of paper, for my own later ready reference. There was just something about the poetry she wrote that captivated me.

And, yes, I do still have those sheets of paper:

Thank goodness my handwriting is a little more neat-looking now....
Thank goodness my handwriting is a little more neat-looking now….

(The poem that begins “What do the stars do….” continues onto the top of the second page there, just so you know.)


Do you think that’s good taste for a third- or fourth-grader?

“In Progress” was obviously not one of those poems; I first read “In Progress” in either sophomore or junior year of high school. Ever since then, I have loved that poem. In fact, I have that poem printed out serving as a binder cover sheet. I kid you not.

So, you’re actually getting a lot of Christina Rossetti poems in this post. But “In Progress” is one of my most favorite poems of all time.

There are more. But those’ll be shared later.


One thought on “A favorite poem offering #1 – “In Progress” by Christina G. Rossetti

  1. She wrote beautiful and delicate poems. I love them too, especially Christina R of all the Pre-raphaelites…thanks for reminding me!

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