The poem Monna Innominata is also known under the titles “I wish I could remember the first day” and “The first day.” What better way to start the new year with this poem. Since this first day is the beginning of something new.
I wish I could remember the first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me;
If bright or dim the season, it might be
Summer or winter for aught I can say.
So unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and to foresee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom yet for many a May.
If only I could recollect it! Such
A day of days! I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow.
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much!
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand! – Did one but know!
— Christina Rossetti
The title refers to the unknown lady. This isn’t just one woman. These are the Laura’s and Beatrice’s of this world. Rossetti, being a feminist, wanted to give an answer to the male-dominated literary world. In this poem, she does not only focus the attention on women who deserve to be in the spotlights. She also brings forward her story about a first love and the love that is lost. She wants to hold on, yet she can’t.
The poetess regrets she did not find this first day more special. This is a recollection of the bruised mind caught in a beautiful poem.
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