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Emmy Bridgwater, was an English artist and poet, based at times in both Birmingham and London. She studied under Bernard Fleetwood-Walker at the Birmingham School of Art for three years from 1922, before further study at a local art school in Oxford. Her aesthetic direction was transformed by attending the London International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936, where she met Conroy Maddox, John Melville and Robert Melville - the key figures of the Birmingham Surrealists. In early 1940 she officially joined the British Surrealist Group. She exhibited at the International Surrealist Exhibition at Galerie Maeght in Paris in 1947 where she signed the Declaration of the English Group. Between 1970s and 1980s she exhibited in many Surrealist retrospectives. Bridgwater was a significant member of the Birmingham Surrealists and of the London-based British Surrealist Group, and was an important link between the surrealists of the two cities.

Here follows a selection of poems written by the artist:

Back to the First Bar (1941)

After ten thousand years I will repeat my claim.

Repeat it in the grey garden in the morning when the clouds are swinging and the raindrops are singing and the ground is moist and the worms are turning, are turning the earth that is me.

Little brown bird you will hear.

You will take no heed of the insistent whispers, again you will turn to pecking your insect with the striped black body and the blue eyes of a Mona Lisa.

Creeps the penetrating grass over the unvirgin soil, brown as the dried spilt blood.

And again, after the insect,
you will
You will sing.

On the Line (1940)

Back to the Land
To the grape-grown tree.
Red... Red... Full earth Red,
Grown Grass - Grass green growing.

There will be no spaces that were stars,
And signing in spaces on the line - signing.
Black death and watered down trees crying
Out shrieking with "It is time,
Now it is time,
And soon there will be no time."

No brushes and no colours and no inks running
No fingers and no hand holding.
The brush not moving in lines
Staying all so staying so will
Eyes looking at all. Eyes always seeing
No rushing waterfall,
No flowering cherry tree.

The Journey (1942)

Two battered at the Red Lamp hitting the bars.
The shilling dropped darkness forced them up
And they lay sucking the corniced grape along the ceiling.
The corners of the room revolved and swayed
And tree trunks groaned.
Whole passages of time were sliced to pieces
As circling strands of snakes benibbled bits
While grey fish swimming in sawdust, glassy-eyed,
Carved sticky patterns, intricate as sin.
And slow - as the starfish crawls to meet the wave -
And slow, but not moving as sand in quick-sand,
The Chariot arrived...
but they were gone.

Surrealism in England 1936 and after, T del Renzio and D Scott, p.65, Canterbury 1986.

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