Henry Rutherford (1929 - May 4, 2014) was an obscure English author, poet, and playwright in the 20th century. Although his poems were good, he is less remembered than his contemporaries T. S. Eliot and W. B. Yeats. Only three of his poems are still known today: "The Last Sunset", "Hell's Yard" and "The Garden of Desolation." All three were cited by literary critics as being allegories for the angst of modern society. He appeared to have some knowledge concerning the Fossils, who often appeared as important characters in his plays.
Selected poetic works
I stumbled hard I stumbled far But no man Can stop me From stumbling Upon Hell's backyard Where my eyes Still remain On the tree of my childhood pain.
"The Garden of Desolation"
Under the sycamore she sat and slept With nary a care for her sedation But during her sleep she was swept Into the garden of desolation. Waking, she found she was lost And rejecting thought of damnation Over the desert she crossed Through the garden of desolation. How quickly time goes past As she seeks her journey's cessation When she finds someone at last Amid the garden of desolation. Still she goes forward with drive Until she gives in to temptation And takes what she needs to survive From the garden of desolation. Amidst the cracked earth and empty sky She searches for her salvation Losing herself as the days go by In the garden of desolation.
"The Last Sunset"
Life ends, inferno Splashing surroundings. Watch the sky Turn red. Trees darken, and voices join the sentient wind. Apologize no more; Don’t mourn the last sunset. Cold figures laugh At themselves– The ultimate practical joke. They see skies Fading, And their faces regret nothing at all tonight. Still, they think once of the last sunset, bitter. Water dies, Unknowing. With its last breath gone, the Earth becomes memory.
"In my hands pale ribbons I squeeze"
In my hands
Pale ribbons I squeeze
As junkers shout "Opera!"
No trumpets such as these
For rubber bands
A house, 'short and stout
A man's image in a Staunton mirror
Chain-smoking from his chimney
(Osteoporosis of the pillar)
Junkers shout "Ivory!"
That house has crumpled.
With Hadfield I too shall retreat
To the home of the birds
Greet us kindly
Selected theatrical works
Rutherford wrote many plays, but the ones most known about are his Selkie Cycle, or Again and Again, consisting of five plays of varying style.
- The Endless Obsession: A minimalist plot-driven exploration of the simple politics of the gods. Selkie enlists a mortal to settle a conflict, only to let the pressures of power reset it all. In the end, all that has changed is more of Selkie's enemies have died.
- Matches in Monochrome: A shadow-play showing magnificent battles between grotesque monsters. Selkie throws Hades into the "Pit of the Lotus Eater." He must fight his way out of a realm of his own subconscious.
- Blood: A play of mortals with conventional drama. Selkie is used only as a symbol, not a character.
- Finally, I Regret: A short one-scene play. Selkie, as protagonist, gazes out her window at the streets of Oper below. No dialogue.
- At the Wake of the Earth-Shaker: Rutherford's final play. A god has died, and the rest hold a wake. At this wake, Selkie's past actions catch up with her.