Friday, 19 February 2021

Sylvia Colenso (1887 - ) – musician and poet

Found for us by Great War researcher, member of the Great War Group, ex-primary school teacher, museum volunteer Judith Jones. Judith contacted me to ask if Sylvia Colenso was on the List of Female Poets - well she wasn't so I must add her.  Thank you Judith.


Sophie, Irma and Sylvia Colenso 
Sylvia was the Granddaughter of Bishop John Colenso, Bishop of Natal in Africa. 

An article written by author Nick Gammage gives us some important clues to Sylvia’s identity: Sylvia Colenso was born in 1887 in Marylebone, London, UK.   Her parents were Francis Ernest Colenso, a barrister and actuary (who was the elder son of Bishop John Colenso), and his wife, Sophie J. Colenso, nee Frankland. Sophie’s father was Sir Edward Frankland - an emminent scientist;  her mother, Sophie Fick, sister of the physician and physiologist Adolf Eugen Fick, was German - from Kassel in Germany. As a consequence, Sylvia spoke German and frequently visited her Grandmother’s family in Germany.  Incidentally, Sophie and Adolf Fick's nephew, Adolf Gaston Eugen Fick, invented the contact lens and was the author of Fick Principle. It is used in Intensive Care Units worldwide to help save lives daily.*

Sylvia’s siblings were: Esmond (who died as a baby), Eothan, Irma and Nigel. 

The Colenso family had a house in London and, from the Autumn of 1901, a house in the Buckinghamshire countryside in Amersham.  The house was called “Elangeni”, which is a Zulu word (and also the name of a Zulu tribe) meaning “where the sun shines through“, reflecting Sylvia’s Father’s childhood in Africa.  The 1911 Census lists the family as living in “Elangeni” with Sylvia’s occupation as musician.

Sylvia had a poem entitled “Man’s Lot” – translated from German - published in an anthology of anti-war poems edited by Bertram Lloyd and published by G. Allen & Unwin Ltd., London in 1918 -  “Poems written during the Great War, 1914-1918”.

Sylvia became an accomplished pianist, and accompanied the first recording of Nkosi Sikelel I Afrika (now the South African national anthem) in 1923.  

In 1938, she married Ernest Bertram Lloyd (14 May 1881 – 9 June 1944)   in Cardigan, Wales. Bertram, who was a naturalist, humanitarian, vegetarian and campaigner for animal rights and founder of the National Society for the Abolition of Cruel Sports, was also a fluent German speaker.  In 1939 Sylvia and Bertram lived at 53 Parkhill Road, Belsize Park, Camden, Hampstead, London, UK.

“Man’s Lot” – Sylvia Colenso

The earth is soaked in blood, and underneath

Lie burried shattered limbs of young men dead;

These – peasants, teachers, flock and those who led –

One volley swept into the arms of death.

The thought that victory, peace and joy 

Might spring from out their sacrifice of blood,

This was the last fond hope which seemed good,

And comfort brought to many a dying boy.

But some there were to whom in their last hour

Were granted vision clear to see and know 

That out of slaughter death anew would spring,

And dreams of vengeance, fairest lands laid low;

That vain each off’ring to war’s evil power –

These felt death hard and knew it’s sharpest sting.

Translated from the German 

From “Poems written during the Great War, 1914-1918”, Edited by Bertram Lloyd (G. Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1918) p. 24.

Judith makes a very good point about that poem: “It sends shivers down my spine to read 'Man's Lot' and know it was written in 1918, or earlier, by someone who was half-German and would live to see it all happen again. Her vision was certainly clear.”   (with thanks to Linda.@SE25A for spotting the typo which I have corrected.)

Sources:

Copy of the poem “Man’s Lot” kindly supplied by Judith Jones  

Find my Past 

https://amershammuseum.org/history/people/19th-century/colenso/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Colenso

Photograph of Sophie, Irma and Sylvia Colenso found for us by Judith Jones.

papers-of-silas-t-molema-and-solomon-t-plaatje.pdf  

http://historicalpapers-atom.wits.ac.za/sophie-irma-and-sylvia-colenso-england

* With thanks for additional information re Adolf Eugen Fick to

mangastyle



Monday, 15 February 2021

Margueretta Stuart Taylor (c 1899 - 1982) – Canadian Poet

With grateful thanks to Liz Tobin for finding the poem that sparked off this research, and to Annette Fulford for finding a great deal of information about Margueretta


Margueritta had a poem published in “The Gold Stripe”, edited by Felix Penne, pen-name of J. Francis Bursill. The publication was “published as a tribute to the British Columbia men who have been killed, crippled and wounded in the Great War”. "The Net Profits of this Publication will go to the Amputation Club of B.C., Vancouver, for men who have been maimed and wounded in the Great War."

Margueretta Stuart Taylor was born in Scotland in around 1899.  Her parents were William Taylor and his wife Margaret Taylor, nee Stuart. Annette tells us that in the 1911 and 1921 Canadian Census, she is listed as Margaret Taylor. Both records indicate the Taylor family went to live in Canada in 1905.  

According to Margueretta’s obituary she became a teacher and taught at Hastings School in Canada from 1921 until she retired.   In Vancouver in November 1929, she married William Dennis Nash (1896 – 1939), who was born in Lewisham, London, UK and worked for the Hudson Bay Company in Canada. The couple had two daughters.   Margueretta died on 26th September 1982.


I wonder if she wrote any other poems?

If anyone knows please get in touch.

Sources: 

Additional information found by Annette Fulford  @avidgenie  - a Canadian genealogist who specializes in researching First World War Brides and soldiers' dependents 1914-1921 and Canadian Immigration.

Marriage certificate and obituaries for Margueretta and her husband found by Annette Fulford

Gold Stripe cover from https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.9_08724/1?r=0&s=1

Report of the death of William Dennis Nash from the Province Newspaper December 15, 1939, page 9.

Margueretta’s obituary from the Vancouver Sun, Sept 29, 1982, page 69

https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/gold-stripe-tribute-to-british-columbia-men-who-have-been-killed-crippled-and-wounded-in-great-war


Monday, 8 February 2021

Eva Shaw McLaren (1866 - ) – British writer and younger sister of Dr. Elsie Inglis

Was Eva also a poet - that is the question 


I have not been able to discover much about her but it seems that Eva was born on 13th July 1866 in Naini Tal, Bengal, India.  Her parents were John Forbes David Inglis and his wife, Harriet Lowis Inglis, nee Thompson. 

An article by Hamish MacPherson about Dr. Elsie Inglis suggests that Eva was Elsie’s younger sister -

“Her younger sister, Eva Helen, would later become Eva Shaw McLaren and write her big sister’s biography, “Elsie Inglis, The Woman With the Torch”, on which my account of Elsie greatly relies.” https://www.thenational.scot/news/18426143.greatest-scot-many-talents-dr-elsie-inglis/

Dr. Elsie Inglis

In the book Eva wrote about Dr. Elsie Inglis -  “Elsie Inglis The Woman with the Torch” by Eva Shaw McLaren, with a preface by Lena Ashwell (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1920) – we find this poem:

Great souls who sailed uncharted seas,

Battling with hostile winds and tide,

Strong hands that forged forbidden keys,

And left the door behind them, wide.


Diggers for gold where most had failed,

Smiling at deeds that brought them Fame,—

Lighters of Lamps that have not failed,—

Lend us your oil and share your flame.


Was the poem written by Eva?  I have not been able to find out anything more about Eva.  If anyone can help please get in touch.  

Note: 

John Forbes David Inglis and his wife, Harriet Lowis Inglis, nee Thompson. had six children in their 'first family' George David (b 1847), Amy (b 1848), Cecil (b 1849), Hugh (b 1851), Herbert (b 1853) and Ernest (b 1856).[6] In 1856 John Inglis arranged to take the family home to Britain for a period of leave of three years. This proved to be a prolonged journey which took 4 months to reach Bombay and a further 4 moths by sailing ship round Cape Hope to reach England. He was recalled early to India in 1858 because of the Indian Rebellion and returned leaving his family in Southampton. George, Hugh and Herbert were sent to school at Eton, Cecil to Uppingham and Ernest to Rugby, while Amy was looked after by relatives. Once they were settled and events in India were back to 'normal', Harriet Inglis returned to India in 1863 and they had the 'second family' of three further children, Eliza Maude (known as Elsie) (b 1864), Eva Helen (b 1866) and Horace (born 1868). Elsie Inglis, who became the most famous of the children, was born in the Himalayan hill station town of Naini Tal, in the state of Uttarakhand, When the Inglis family moved to Tasmania the Inglis girls were tutored by Miss Knott, a disciple of Dorothea Beale, a pioneer of education for women.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Inglis_(civil_servant)


Saturday, 30 January 2021

Muriel Bruce (1890-1981) – Canadian lyricist, musician, journalist and writer

With grateful thanks to Liz Tobin for finding Muriel for us 

Muriel Elizabeth Bruce was born on 20th July 1890 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.   Her parents were John Bruce (1851 – 1935) and his second wife, Helen Rowell Bruce, nee O’Reilly (1866 – 1937). Muriel had two half-brothers - Henry Addington Bayley Bruce, b.1875 and Rupert N. Bruce, b. 1874.  

Muriel was also a classical pianist. She worked as a reporter for a Toronto newspaper and published several books, novels and sonnets.  From an early age, she had an interest in the Theosophical Movement and cosmological theory. Her most well-known book is “Pursuit of Destiny”, the title of which was later changed to “Tarot and Astrology”. 

After marrying Abraham Louis Hasbrouck in December 1931, Muriel moved from Canada to New York. The couple collaborated to write a collection/series entitled “Space-Time Forecasting and Economic Trends 1958-1996”, about the correlation of natural forces on market forecasting.  Louis died in June 1979.  Muriel and Louis do not appear to have had any children. Muriel died in Bayside, Queens’ New York on 27th November 1981.


“Knitting” a WW1 song 

Written and composed by Muriel E Bruce and Baron Alotti in about 1915, this patriotic song is dedicated to The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire. The song refers to the struggle of the men on the battlefield, the conditions they face and the loss of comrades beside them, while at home the needles are lovingly busy knitting for the brave sons, brothers, fathers and lovers.   The sheet music was published by Chappell & Co. Ltd. and the cover was illustrated by the Starmer brothers. 



Volume 2 of "Female Poets of the First World War" features a guest article written by Historian Phil Dawes entitled "Knitting - A Labour of Love" about knitting in WW1 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Female-Poets-First-World-War/dp/1909643173/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1540990155&sr=1-11

Muriel also wrote other songs during the First World War:  

Kitchener’s Question.

“Why aren’t you in Khaki? /This means you! / Any old excuse won’t do,” flooded the streets during recruitment marches with the intention of inspiring the enlistment of Britain’s sons. The success of Muriel Bruce’s collection of songs grants her the honour of common historiographical representation as thetoken women when discussing entertainment on the Canadian home front.” From “The War on Score:  Ontarian Women’s Songs during The Great War” by Karina Stellato March 29, 2019

“Twilight Dreams”

Very similar to her song “Knitting”, and written in 1916, it is dedicated ‘To my soldier,’ and sings about sitting knitting socks while waiting and dreaming for her beloved to come home.  As the knitter falls asleep, she dreams her dear brave man has come home, only to wake and find herself alone.  Published in London by The Frederick Harris Co. it includes the first page of the “Knitting” song and the cover was illustrated by the Starmer brothers.

Sources: 

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/bruce_muriel

https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:89910/

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?106093

http://ramaracardendalton.com/geneology/getperson.php?personID=I00459&tree=BRUCE

https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/blog/recording-music-first-world-war-do-you-know-these-musicians

https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/95412/1/Research%20Project2%20-%20Karina%20Stellato.pdf

http://www.perfessorbill.com/ragtime9a.shtml#starmer


Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Winifred M. Letts (1882 - 1972) – British poet and writer

I have written about Winifred Mabel Letts previously because she featured in the very first commemorative WW1 exhibition we produced - Female Poets of the First World War - held at the award-winning Wilfred Owen Story in Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, UK from November 2012.  However, thanks to Paul Whitehead of the Facebook Page about writer and poet Flora Thompson, I noticed recently that the Wikipedia entry for Winifred still has her middle name incorrectly given as Mary.   

Bairbre O’Hogan has been researching Winifred M. Letts for many years. Bairbre’s mother was a friend of Winifred’s and Bairbre remembers Winifred very well.  

Copy of Winifred Mabel Letts' birth certificate
kindly supplied by Bairbre O'Hogan

Winifred Mabel Letts was born on 10th February 1882 in Salford, Manchester, UK, formerly in the County of Lancashire.  Her parents were Ernest Frederick Letts, an Anglican church minister and his wife, Mary Isabel, nee Ferrier.  Winifred had the following siblings:  Mary F.S., b. 1877 and Dorothy M., b. 1878.  After the death of Winifred’s father, the family moved to Ireland.

Educated at Abbots Bromley School in Staffordshire, Winifred went on to study at Alexandra College in Dublin.  Her career as a writer began in 1907 when the novels “Waste Castle” and “The Story Spinner” were published.


During the First World War, Winifred joined the Volunteer Aid Detachment and worked as a nurse at Manchester Base Hospital. She then trained as a medical masseuse – that is a physiotherapist in modern parlance - with the Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps. Winifred worked at Army camps in Manchester and Alnwick, Northumberland during WW1.   

Winifred’s WW1 poetry collections were “Hallow-e’en, and other poems of the war” (Smith, Elder, 1916) and  “The Spires of Oxford, and other poems” (Dutton, New York, 1917). Her poems were included in 21 WW1 poetry anthologies. 


The photograph of Winifred and her birth certificate are reproduced here by kind permission of Bairbre O’Hogan.  Winifred’s WW1 VAD Record Card is from The British Red Cross website. 


“TO A SOLDIER IN HOSPITAL”  


Courage came to you with your boyhood's grace 

Of ardent life and limb. 

Each day new dangers steeled you to the test, 

To ride, to climb, to swim. 

Your hot blood taught you carelessness of death 

With every breath. 


So when you went to play another game 

You could not but be brave : 

An Empire's team, a rougher football field, 

The end — perhaps your grave. 

What matter? On the winning of a goal 

You staked your soul. 


Yes, you wore courage as you wore your youth 

With carelessness and joy. 

But in what Spartan school of discipline 

Did you get patience, boy? 

How did you learn to bear this long-drawn pain 

And not complain ? 


Restless with throbbing hopes, with thwarted aims, 

Impulsive as a colt, 

How do you lie here month by weary month 

Helpless and not revolt? 

What joy can these monotonous days afford 

Here in a ward? 


Yet you are merry as the birds in spring, 

Or feign the gayety, 

Lest those who dress and tend your wound each day 

Should guess the agony. 

Lest they should suffer — this the only fear 

You let draw near. 


Graybeard philosophy has sought in books 

And argument this truth, 

That man is greater than his pain, but you 

Have learnt it in your youth. 

You know the wisdom taught by Calvary 

At twenty-three. 


Death would have found you brave, but braver still 

You face each lagging day, 

A merry Stoic, patient, chivalrous, 

Divinely kind and gay. 

You bear your knowledge lightly, graduate 

Of unkind Fate. 


Careless philosopher, the first to laugh, 

The latest to complain, 

Unmindful that you teach, you taught me this 

In your long fight with pain : 

Since God made man so good — here stands my creed — 

God's good indeed. 


W. M. Letts. "The Spectator". 

Sources:

Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) p. 198

https://archive.org/stream/warverse01foxc/warverse01foxc_djvu.txt pp 184 - 185

Notes:

There is a book of the exhibition held at the WOS "Female Poets of the First World War - Volume One" available via Amazon.

The Award-winning Wilfred Owen Story is now situated in West Kirby, Wirral. https://www.wilfredowenstory.com/

https://femalewarpoets.blogspot.com/2019/02/winifred-mabel-letts-1882-1972-british.html


Flora Jane Thompson (1876 –1947) - novelist and poet who wrote "Lark Rise to Candleford"

It is always exciting to discover a hitherto unknown First World War poet and I am very grateful to Paul Whitehead for his kind help in finding poems by Flora and information about her life. Paul is jointly in charge of the Facebook page Flora Thompson – author - exploring and celebrating the life & writings of author / poet Flora Thompson, 1876 [or'77] - 1947. Best known for her Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy. 

Born Flora Jane Timms in Juniper Hill in northeast Oxfordshire on 5th December 1876, Flora’s parents were Albert Timms, a stonemason, and his wife, Emma, a nursemaid.  Flora was the eldest of Albert and Emma’s twelve children, of whom only six survived. One of her younger sisters was Betty Timms, who also became a writer and is best known for her children's book “The Little Grey Men of the Moor”.  Flora was educated at the parish school in the village of Cottisford. Her mother encouraged her to read and write. Like so many children at that time, Flora left school at the age of 14 and went on to become a very good writer.

In 1891, Flora went to work as a counter clerk at the post office in Fringford in Oxfordshire. She went on to work in various other post offices, including offices at Grayshott, Yateley and Winton in Bournemouth.

In 1903 Flora married John William Thompson, a post office clerk and telegraphist from the Isle of Wight. They were married in Twickenham Parish Church. The couple went to live in Bournemouth. They had a daughter, Winifred Grace, b.1903 and two sons, Henry Basil, b.1909 and Peter Redmond, b. 1918.  In 1916 they moved to Liphook in Hampshire. Flora's favourite brother, Edwin, joined the 2nd Eastern Ontario Regiment on 5th May 1915 and was killed near Ypres on 26th April 1916.

The death of Flora's younger son during the Second World War also affected her deeply – her health suffered and she died in 1947.  Flora was buried at Longcross Cemetery, Dartmouth, Devon.

Flora’s first publication was a collection of poems entitled 'Bog-Myrtle and Peat'  (Philip Allen & Co, London, 1921).  Flora's other works include (i) the 250,000 word "The Peverel Papers: Nature Notes”, written between 1921 and 1927 inclusive; (ii) the classic "Lark Rise to Candleford" trilogy, first published in 1945;  (iii) "Heatherley”, published posthumously, which is in some respects a continuation of the trilogy.

Here are some of Flora's poems: 

“The Land Girl's Song”

She bound the sheaves the tractor threw,

A sun-bright maid with eyes of blue,

Then reaped the hollow by the spring,

And this is the song I heard her sing:-


O, come ye soon, or the corn will be mown,

Corn will be mown, corn will be mown,

And only stubble lie bare and lone,

And grey mist rise from the river!


O, come ye soon, or the leaves will be shed,

Leaves will be shed, leaves will be shed,

Leaves all russet and yellow and red,

And we shall not hear them shiver!


O, come today, and poppies will spring,

Poppies will spring, poppies will spring.

With their blood-red blossoms I'll crown thee king,

And the spell that I weave and the song that I sing

Shall hold thee captive for ever!


“The Airman”

We watched him fluttering against the sky:

So far, so high.

Soaring and wheeling in tumultuous flight;

So frail, so light.

Shooting vast spaces like a bolt of gold;

So swift, so bold.

'Till men's cold hearts kindled to pride to view,

What Man dared do!


“Over the Top”


Ten more minutes! – Say yer prayers,

Read yer Bibles, pass the rum!

Ten more minutes! Strike me dumb,

'Ow they creeps on unawares,

Those blooming minutes. Nine. It's queer,

I'm sorter stunned. It ain't with fear!


Eight. It's like as if a frog

Waddled round in your inside,

Cold as ice-blocks, straddle wide,

Tired o' waiting. Where's the grog?

Seven. I'll play yer pitch and toss –

Six. – I wins, and tails yer loss.


'Nother minute sprinted by

'Fore I knowed it; only Four

(Break 'em into seconds) more

'Twixt us and Eternity.

Every word I've ever said

Seems a-shouting in my head.


Three. Larst night a little star

Fairly shook up in the sky,

Didn't like the lullaby

Rattled by the dogs of War.

Funny thing – that star all white

Saw old Blighty, too, larst night.


Two. I ain't ashamed o' prayers,

They're only wishes sent ter God

Bits o' plants from bloody sod

Trailing up His golden stairs.

Ninety seconds – Well, who cares!

One –

No fife, no blare, no drum –

Over the Top – to Kingdom Come!


Sources: 

Find my Past

https://allpoetry.com/Over-the-Top?fbclid=IwAR0wpDVnt4CCFyd2OdO5NBVL1cAn-A_uUVPxlv5hpEPFXvdlhY2fvOzoCSA

http://www.johnowensmith.co.uk/flora/bogmyrtlepeat.htm?fbclid=IwAR2TUr0XPZ2Nc6CnMOJ2yFtfwiQsOKEy1Uvy77HGWfik6i4c1CcAbobfkO4

Facebook page Flora Thompson – author - exploring and celebrating the life & writings of author / poet Flora Thompson, 1876 [or'77] - 1947. Best known for her Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy.

Photograph of Flora taken presumably during or soon after the First World War, since Flora is wearing Edwin's regimental badge as a brooch - from http://www.johnowensmith.co.uk/flora/pics.htm


Sibyl Bristowe (1870 - 1954) – British poet and writer

With thanks to Paul Whitehead for sending me a poem by Sibyl that made me decide to reserch her and to Phil Dawes for additional information about her brother’s death in WW1.

Sibyl Isabelle Bristowe was born on 30th July 1870. Her parents were John Syer Bristowe, MD, FRS, LL.D, a physician, and his wife, Miriam Isabella, nee Stearns.  The family lived in London and Sibyl had the following siblings: Leonard S., b. 1858, Maude E., b. 1859, Evelyn L., b.1861, Flora M., b.1863, Hubert C., b. 1864, Beatrice M., b.1866, Clarence C., b.1868, Everard S., b.1873 and Vivian Ernest John, b. 1875.  

Sibyl’s brother Vivian served during the First World War in the South African Medical Corps in Tanzania.   He died on 14th April 1917 and was buried in Morogoro Cemetery, Grave Reference:  IV. B. 2.  

At the outbreak of the First World War Tanzania was the core of German East Africa. From the invasion of April 1915, Commonwealth forces fought a protracted and difficult campaign against a relatively small but highly skilled German force under the command of General von Lettow-Vorbeck. When the Germans finally surrendered on 23 November 1918, twelve days after the European armistice, their numbers had been reduced to 155 European and 1,168 African troops.

Morogoro was occupied by Commonwealth forces on 26th August 1916 and the German civil cemetery was taken over for Commonwealth war burials. Between the beginning of September 1916 and January 1919, 177 burials were carried out by the five medical units which were posted in the town and which were, at the outset, assisted by German medical personnel and civilians.

In 1939, Sibyl was living in Maida Vale, London, with her siblings Maude, Evelyn and Evarard.  Sibyl never married and died on 15th October 1954. 

“Provocations” was the title of Sibyl Bristowe’s WW1 collection, which was published with an Introduction by G.K. Chesterton by Erskine Macdonald Ltd., London in 1918.  She also had a poem published in “The Lyceum book of war verse” Edited by Alys Eyre Macklin (Erskine Macdonald, London, 1918).  Here are some of her poems:

“The Great War”

Into His colour store God dipped His hand

And drew it forth

Full of strange hues forgotten, contraband

Of War and Wrath.

Time wove the pattern of the years, that so

The quick and dead

Might knit their bleeding crosses in. And lo!

A patch of red!


“Over the Top”

Ten more minutes! – Say yer prayers,

Read yer Bibles, pass the rum!

Ten more minutes! Strike me dumb,

'Ow they creeps on unawares,

Those blooming minutes. Nine. It's queer,

I'm sorter stunned. It ain't with fear!


Eight. It's like as if a frog

Waddled round in your inside,

Cold as ice-blocks, straddle wide,

Tired o' waiting. Where's the grog?

Seven. I'll play yer pitch and toss –

Six. – I wins, and tails yer loss.


'Nother minute sprinted by

'Fore I knowed it; only Four

(Break 'em into seconds) more

'Twixt us and Eternity.

Every word I've ever said

Seems a-shouting in my head.


Three. Larst night a little star

Fairly shook up in the sky,

Didn't like the lullaby

Rattled by the dogs of War.

Funny thing – that star all white

Saw old Blighty, too, larst night.


Two. I ain't ashamed o' prayers,

They're only wishes sent ter God

Bits o' plants from bloody sod

Trailing up His golden stairs.

Ninety seconds – Well, who cares!

One –

No fife, no blare, no drum –

Over the Top – to Kingdom Come!


“To His Dear Memory” (April 14th, 1917)

Beneath the humid skies

Where green birds wing, and heavy burgeoned trees

Sway in the fevered breeze,

My Brother lies.


And rivers passionate [A]

Tore through the mountain passes, swept the plains,

O'erbrimmed with tears, o'erbrimmed with summer rains,

All wild, all desolate.

Whilst the deep Mother-breast

Of drowsy-lidded Nature, drunk with dreams,

Below Pangani, by Rufigi streams,

Took him to rest.


Beneath the sunlit skies,

Where bright birds wing, and rich luxuriant trees

Sway in the fevered breeze,

My Brother lies.


The bending grasses woo

His hurried grave; a cross of oak to show

The drifting winds, a Soldier sleeps below.

—Our Saviour's cross, I know,

Was wooden, too.

[A]The river Rufigi rose so high the night he died, none of his own Battalion could cross it to attend his last honours.

The Pangani River is a major river of northeastern Tanzania. The Rufiji River lies entirely within Tanzania. The river is formed by the confluence of the Kilombero and Luwegu rivers. It is approximately 600 kilometres (370 mi) long, with its source in southwestern Tanzania and its mouth on the Indian Ocean.


“A Sacrament”


TEARS! And I brought them to the Lord, and said

What are these crystal globes by nations shed?

What is the crimson flood that stains the land?

Where is Thy peace, and where Thy guiding hand?

Why are those thousands daily sacrificed?

Where is Thy might, and where the love of Christ?


And from the heavens methought I heard a voice

“Oh son of earth, I bid thee still rejoice!

Those crystal tears by men and nations shed

Water My harvest, sanctify My dead.

That crimson flood which stains the hapless earth

Is but the prelude to a nobler birth.

Those thousands, who for home have gladly died,

Sleep in the hope of Jesus crucified.

Flesh, Blood, and Water, Little Child of Mine,

Veil in their depths a Mystery divine.”


I bowed my head, and prayed for faith to see

The inner visions of Calamity!

Sources:  Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) pp. 68 and 20.

Find my Past

Gutenberg

Article written by Phil Dawes, March 2015

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/33855/33855-h/33855-h.htm

https://allpoetry.com/Over-the-Top?fbclid=IwAR0wpDVnt4CCFyd2OdO5NBVL1cAn-A_uUVPxlv5hpEPFXvdlhY2fvOzoCSA

https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=GBM%2FCWGC%2FROLLOFHONOUR%2F000115963

https://www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/12104/

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/search-results/?CemeteryExact=true&Cemetery=MOROGORO%20CEMETERY