Category: WW1

All the hills and vales along

He went to school in Marlborough and loved to take long and sometimes solitary walks across the Wilshire downs. So – here is Charles Sorley.. October 13th is the anniversary of his death in 1915. All the hills and vales […] 

Richard Aldington and Paul Nash: Images of War

Some authors are blessed with illustrators who enhance their work with the distinction of their own. So it was in 1919 with Richard Aldington. When Images of War was first published it was with a cover design and eleven colored woodcut illustrations […] 

Before The Charge: The Great Push, Loos, September 1915

Before the Charge The night is still and the air is keen, Tense with menace the time crawls by, In front is the town and its homes are seen, Blurred in outline against the sky. The dead leaves float in […] 

Blackberry and Apple Crumble

If we had some bacon we could have bacon and eggs but we’ve got no eggs. That First World War catch phrase came to mind as I was contemplating an idle wish to make blackberry and apple crumble. I imagine […] 

August 1914

August 1914 What in our lives is burnt In the fire of this? The heart’s dear granary? The much we shall miss? Three lives hath one life – Iron, honey, gold. The gold, the honey gone – Left is the […] 

MCMXIV

MCMXIV Those long uneven lines Standing as patiently As if they were stretched outside The Oval or Villa Park, The crowns of hats, the sun On moustached archaic faces Grinning as if it were all An August Bank Holiday lark; […] 

Ballad of the Three Spectres

In Ivor Gurney’s nightmarish vision, the dead among the living bear dire warnings and mockery. Ballad of the Three Spectres As I went up by Ovillers In mud and water cold to the knee, There went three jeering, fleering spectres, […] 

The Poltroon

Poltroon – the very word is like a … what? a.) A North American mammal of the raccoon family known for its habit of rooting for grubs in the undergrowth of deciduous forests b.) A metal or earthenware pot typically having […] 

The Dancers

The Dancers All day beneath the hurtling shells Before my burning eyes Hover the dainty demoiselles — The peacock dragon-flies. Unceasingly they dart and glance Above the stagnant stream — And I am fighting here in France As in a […] 

The End and the Beginning

    The End and the Beginning After every war someone has to clean up. Things won’t straighten themselves up, after all. Someone has to push the rubble to the side of the road, so the corpse-filled wagons can pass. […] 

Blackbird

Blackbirds are notorious for being able to mimic the sounds they hear as they hop about the celestial chimney pots of suburbia. Ice cream van jingles, phone ring tones, car alarms and ambulance sirens – they can do the lot. […] 

Song of the Dark Ages

Song of the Dark Ages We digged our trenches on the down    Beside old barrows, and the wet White chalk we shovelled from below; It lay like drifts of thawing snow    On parados and parapet: Until a pick […] 

In Parenthesis: Part 1

This writing has to do with some things I saw, felt and was part of. The period covered begins in early December 1915 and ends in July 1916. – David Jones, in the preface to In Parenthesis 1937 In Parenthesis […] 

In Memoriam (Easter, 1915)

In Memoriam (Easter, 1915) The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood This Eastertide call into mind the men, Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should Have gathered them and will do never again.     by […] 

Subway Rush Hour

Subway Rush Hour by Langston Hughes Mingled breath and smell so close mingled black and white so near no room for fear. Hughes published Subway Rush Hour in 1951 part of “Montage of a Dream Deferred”.  In “My Early Days […] 

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