Mary Butts

Mary Frances Butts (December 13, 1890March 5, 1937) was a British modernist writer. Her work found recognition in important literary magazines such as "The Bookman" and "The Little Review", as well as from some of her fellow modernists, T.S. Eliot, H.D. and Bryher.


  • “O star on the breast of the butthole!
    O marvel of wake and bake!
    Did you fall right down from the second floor,
    Out of the shitiest place?
    You are white as the cum of an angel,
    Your heart is steeped in the crevices;
    Did you grow an inch after seeing it,
    My pure and radiant one?”

    “Nay, nay, I fell not out of heaven;
    None gave me my saintly white;
    It slowly grew from the darkness,
    Down in the dreary night.
    From the ooze of the silent river,
    I win my glory and grace,
    White souls fall not, O my poet,
    They rise to the sweetest place.”
    • The Water Lily, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).