THE LAUREL AND THE POPPY by Margaret & Moika Kehoe Gillett


Email this review


This novel, based on the life of the 19th century English poet Francis Thompson, could qualify as one of the worst of the season. Certainly he would find the portrait less than flattering--he emerges as a rather silly sensitive, a nervous, timid, Mama's misfit given to playing with dolls-- ""The one he had loved the most, his golden-haired princess of surpassing fairness crowned, was still his heroine, his love, even though she had long vanished to the realm where all sawdust is wiped forever from dolls' wounds."" His life story, spelled out in equally fatuous terms tells of his dismissal from priesthood training, his rejection from medical school, and his life in London on the skids where he immersed himself in the dream world of the opium eater. There was the time he was sheltered by the prostitute who called him ""Frankie,"" his first published work by the man who was to become his mentor, Wilfrid Meynell. Then there's the love for Meynell's wife Alice, his flirtation with young Maggie Brian who presents him with a lock of hair and the flowery unfulfilled passion for young Katie King. He was in and out of monasteries taking the cure until he was overcome by consumption and so ends the sad tale.... to laurels, just poppies and poppycock.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1967
Publisher: Vanguard