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About Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne

Although Hexham-born poet and feminist Elizabeth Gibson (later Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne) was a prolific writer, publishing some forty books of prose and poetry, her work is challenging to find. Despite being involved in the new social movements of her day, including socialism and women's suffrage, there is sadly hardly any publicly available information about her. This competition, held in her honour, is an attempt to remedy that and introduce new readers and writers to a wonderful but sadly forgotten poet. 


Woman – Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne


(1910, From the Wilderness)

I met a woman walking through the world,
And I stopped to bid her good-day.
She was walking with a will;
So I asked her where she was going.
‘Everywhere’ she replied.
I asked her whence she came,
and she answered: ‘From the ends of the earth.’
‘Of what land are you an inhabitant?’
‘Of every land I have heard of.’
‘Of what city are you a citizen?’
‘Of every city I can imagine.’
‘Where are your children?’
‘All over the earth. Every child that is born is mine. I suckle every living baby.’
‘Who is your husband?’
‘Every man is my husband.’
‘Why have you left him?’
‘That he may know the bitterness of life without me.’
‘When will you return to him?’
‘When he has learnt that I am his equal.’
Then she bade me good day; and I watched her ascend the summit of the world to see how man was faring.
And as she turned I heard God cry: ‘thou hast done well!’

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