Dorothy ('Dorf') Noel Bonarjee, from a noted Calcutta family, was a poet and lawyer. She was born in Lucknow in 1894, educated in Dulwich and then studied at Aberystwyth, attracted by the Welsh bardic tradition. She wrote this poem entitled 'London' probably in her twenties. It has an echo of Woolf's Mrs Dalloway:
Lights! deep orange, yellow, staring white, And sudden banks of gloom - the lights again, And rows of dazzling windows, and vague flight Of carriages, and rapid, furtive cars, And lamps that flicker past like falling stars, And people everywhere. A deep refrain - A solemn, never-ending undertone. And mingled with its roar, in lighter vein, The echo of incalculable feet. To one who wanders midst the lights alone There is a power in the throbbing street, A beauty in the City's painted face, And healing in the wisdom of her eyes. And dear to him in that great heedless race, In shame, and sorrow so forlornly wise Whose secret good no sin can e'er efface.
This fine portrait of Dorf is posted here with the permission of her niece, Sheela Bonarjee. The artist was Paul Surtel, Dorf's husband - they eloped to be together.