Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Virginia Woolf at Seventeen: The Warboys Journal One
I must make some mark on paper  . . . tho’ my mark must be frail
& somewhat disjointed.
—Virginia Woolf

I am practicing my penmanship with various nibs, this one thin as the beak of a lark. Push, pull. Push, pull.


heroic resolution to change my ideas of calligraphy

dear but somewhat too romantic pen

This This is written with my dear, but somewhat too


The village of Warboys rests in the Fens. On a padding of carpets I rest in our Punt, watching the wide sky, the lavish cloud conglomerations. High above me, tossed like embers, bats are catching the day’s last light.

What a beautiful world we live in!

I am very sorry that I cannot find anyone
to agree in this matter with me. This at last

This This was one of the last things that


If I go on at this rate methinks I shall soon have finished this book—but the fever will not last—I know the disease well. The world, the word. On the road today to the Rectory: a horse cart, four windmills, pure air for fathoms & fathoms & acres & acres.


This I

This I write in the year of a


We traveled to Ramsey today, a market town on the border of the Fens. Running north, a wide street called the Great Whyte. When Oliver Cromwell’s cousin longed for a new coat, fabric was sent to Ramsey from London. The year was 1666. Within the fabric’s spun & twisted & polished threads, bubonic plague nested. The cousin, the tailor & 400 villagers died.


This sheet of paper if it had followed the fate

Within the fabric’s polished


Clouds today & mist, but as we drove along, the sun shot a shaft of light down & we beheld a glorious expanse of sky & far away over the flat fields a spire caught the beam & glittered like a gem in the darkness & wetness of the surrounding countries.


Usages of linen predate the book & still

fabric spindle spire beam

the glory grows & still we


How can things so finely made unmake us so completely?  

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