The Dead City by Christina Rossetti: Living in a time of pandemic?
Christina Rossetti by Lewis Carroll,
October 7, 1863, NPG
The genius of the family. She was the Dante of our family.
Christina, was the daughter of what was noblest in our father
and beautiful in our mother.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti speaks of his sister.
In 1847 poetess, Christina Rossetti believed to be inspired by the story of Zobeide in The Arabian Nights, wrote, The Dead City; a first person singular allegory where a woman narrates her walk through an abandoned city as she makes her way to a dinner already laid out on a table. The poet warns the reader of the dangers of 'urban materialism' in a consumer culture gone awry almost pleading for the need for spiritual awakening.
As we live in the beginning of 2021, one hundred and seventy four years after The Dead City was written, I can see parallels to the detriment of urban living. Thus, resulting in the concrete, grey, desolation of city sidewalks deserted of humans where a light shines upon tents leading the way to a dinner meal already prepared atop a table. Think of the tents that surround individual tables outside of restaurants across our pandemic cities around the world. I wanted to share this poem with you. Read it again. Read it for the first time. Grab your copy of, The Goblin Market and other poems sitting on your shelf right now, snuggle up with your tea or coffee in your favorite recliner or sofa and see if you don't see echoes of our Covid pandemic world.
THE DEAD CITY