Posts tagged ‘1917’

Monday, 8 November 2021

The Red Cross Spirit by John Huston Finley

“I kneel behind the soldier’s trench,
I walk ‘mid shambles’ smear and stench,
The dead I mourn;
I bear the stretcher and I bend
O’er Fritz and Pierre and Jack to mend
What shells have torn.

“I go wherever men may dare,
I go wherever woman’s care
And love can live;
Wherever strength and skill can bring
Surcease to human suffering,
Or solace give.

“I am your pennies and your pounds;
I am your bodies on their rounds
Of pain afar;
I am you, doing what you would
If you were only where you could—
Your avatar.

“The cross which on my arm I wear,
The flag which o’er my breast I bear,
Is but the sign
Of what you’d sacrifice for him
Who suffers on the hellish rim
Of war’s red line.”

From: Finley, John H., ‘The Red Cross Spirit’ in The Journal of Education, Volume 86, Number 9 (2145), 13 September 1917, p. 229.

Date: 1917

By: John Huston Finley (1863-1940)

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Brisbane by Alice Gore-Jones

A red cathedral’s tiles, a tapering spire
Piercing her gaunt zinc roofs, the city lies.
Dim blue hills rise about her circle-wise,
And flame trees deck her steep white streets with fire.
While tremulous as some Æolian choir
Beside her river-way the bamboo sighs;
And to a burning sweep of turquoise skies

Ascends that slow sad song of lost desire.
Stranger than all her sisters of the South,
With languid warmth she lifts her sun-browned arms
In eager longing towards the distant sea;
This Northern witch with young and glowing mouth,
And half-alluring, half-elusive charms,
That bear the tropic’s seal of mystery.

From: Gore-Jones, A., Troop Trains and Other Verses, 1917, G. Hassell & Son: Adelaide, p. 23.

Date: 1917

From: Alice Gore-Jones (1887-1961)

Monday, 14 December 2020

Moonlit Apples by John Drinkwater

At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,
And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those
Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes
A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.

A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches, and then
There is no sound at the top of the house of men
Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again
Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.

They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;
On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams
Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,
And quiet is the steep stair under.

In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.
And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
On moon-washed apples of wonder.


Date: 1917

By: John Drinkwater (1882-1937)

Friday, 13 November 2020

Smoke by Bernard Freeman Trotter

All the windy ways of man
Are a smoke that rises up.

Breath of the mine,
Wraith of the oak—
Who shall divine
The riddle of smoke?

Weave me a cloud,
Cover the sky;
Weave me a shroud:
Life is a lie!

Weave it not thin,
Weave it not fine;
Vivid as sin,
This, the design:

Beings of might
Toiling with death;
Frail things afright,
Gasping for breath;

Cities of doom,
Blackened and grim;
Battle-cloud’s gloom;
Charred forests dim;

Crater and pit,
Furnace and pyre;—
Boldly in-knit
With garlands of fire.

Weave it!
The dust lies in the urn:
So at last must
All the world burn.

Take then your toll,
Weaver of cloud.
Follows the whole:
Weave me a shroud.

Weave me it true,
Weave me it well—
Weave me it, weave me it,
Vapour of hell.


Date: 1917

By: Bernard Freeman Trotter (1890-1917)

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Excerpt from Section 4, Book 1 of “The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon”

Directly I saw her, I was lost:
for beauty wounds deeper than any arrow
and strikes down through the eyes into the soul;
the eye is the passage for love’s wound.
All manner of feelings took possession of me at once —
admiration, stupefaction, fear, shame, shamelessness.
I admired her tall form, I was stupefied by her beauty,
I shewed my fear by the beating of my heart;
I stared shamelessly at her,
but I was ashamed to be caught doing so.
Try as I would to drag my eyes away from gazing upon her,
they would not obey me,
but remained fixed upon her by the force of her beauty,
and at length they won the day against my will.

From: Gaselee, S., Achilles Tatius with an English Translation, 1917, William Heinemann: London and G. P. Putnam’s Sons: New York, pp. 15-17.

Date: 2nd century (original in Greek); 1917 (translation in English)

By: Achilles Tatius (2nd century)

Translated by: Stephen Gaselee (1882-1943)

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Lines from a Plutocratic Poetaster to a Ditch-digger by Franklin Pierce Adams

Sullen, grimy, labouring person,
As I passed you in my car,
I could sense your muffled curse on
It and me and my cigar;
And though mute your malediction,
I could feel it on my head,
As in countless works of fiction
I have read.

Envy of mine obvious leisure
Seemed to green your glittering eye;
Hate for mine apparent pleasure
Filled you as I motored by.
You who had to dig for three, four
Hours in that unpleasant ditch,
Loathed, despised, and hated me for
Being rich.

And you cursed me into Hades
As you envied me that ride
With the loveliest of ladies
Sitting at my dexter side;
And your wish, or your idea,
Was to hurl us off some cliff.
I could see that you thought me a
Lucky stiff.

If you came to the decision,
As my car you mutely cussed,
That allottment and division
Are indecently unjust—
Labouring man, however came you
Thus to think the world awry,
I should be the last to blame you …
So do I.


Date: 1917

By: Franklin Pierce Adams (1881-1960)

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The Broken Wing by Sarojini Chattopadhyay Naidu

“Why should a song-bird like you have a broken wing?” – G. K. Gokhalk

The great dawn breaks, the mournful night is past.
From her deep age-long sleep she wakes at last!
Sweet and long-slumbering buds of gladness ope
Fresh lips to the returning winds of hope,
Our eager hearts renew their radiant flight
Towards the glory of renascent light,
Life and our land await their destined spring . . .
Song-bird why dost thou bear a broken wing?

Shall spring that wakes mine ancient land again
Call to my wild and suffering heart in vain?
Or Fate’s blind arrows still the pulsing note
Of my far-reaching, frail, unconquered throat?
Or a weak bleeding pinion daunt or tire
My flight to the high realms of my desire?
Behold! I rise to meet the destined spring
And scale the stars upon my broken wing!

From: Naidu, Sarojini, The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death & Destiny, 1915-1916, 1917, William Heinemann: London and John Lane Company: New York pp. 3-5.

Date: 1917

By: Sarojini Chattopadhyay Naidu (1879-1949)

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Hard Luck by Edgar Albert Guest

Ain’t no use as I can see
In sittin’ underneath a tree
An’ growlin’ that your luck is bad,
An’ that your life is extry sad;
Your life ain’t sadder than your neighbor’s
Nor any harder are your labors;
It rains on him the same as you,
An’ he has work he hates to do;
An’ he gits tired an’ he gits cross,
An’ he has trouble with the boss;
You take his whole life, through an’ through,
Why, he’s no better off than you.

If whinin’ brushed the clouds away
I wouldn’t have a word to say;
If it made good friends out o’ foes
I’d whine a bit, too, I suppose;
But when I look around an’ see
A lot o’ men resemblin’ me,
An’ see ’em sad, an’ see ’em gay
With work t’ do most every day,
Some full o’ fun, some bent with care,
Some havin’ troubles hard to bear,
I reckon, as I count my woes,
They’re ’bout what everybody knows.

The day I find a man who’ll say
He’s never known a rainy day,
Who’ll raise his right hand up an’ swear
In forty years he’s had no care,
Has never had a single blow,
An’ never known one touch o’ woe,
Has never seen a loved one die,
Has never wept or heaved a sigh,
Has never had a plan go wrong,
But allas laughed his way along;
Then I’ll sit down an’ start to whine
That all the hard luck here is mine.


Date: 1917

By: Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Aspidistra Street by Harold Edward Monro

Go along that road, and look at sorrow.
Every window grumbles.
All day long the drizzle fills the puddles,
Trickles in the runnels and the gutters,
Drips and drops and dripples, drops and dribbles,
While the melancholy aspidistra
Frowns between the parlour curtains.

Uniformity, dull Master! —
Birth and marriage, middle-age and death;
Rain and gossip: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday . . .

Sure, the lovely fools who made Utopia
Planned it without any aspidistra.
There will be a heaven on earth, but first
We must banish from the parlour
Plush and poker-work and paper flowers,
Brackets, staring photographs and what-nots,
Serviettes, frills and etageres,
Anti-macassars, vases, chiffonniers;

And the gloomy aspidistra
Glowering through the window-pane.
Meditating heavy maxims,
Moralising to the rain.

From: Monro, Harold and Monro, Alida (ed.), The Collected Poems of Harold Monro, 1933, Cobden-Sanderson: London, p. 130.

Date: 1917

By: Harold Edward Monro (1879-1932)

Monday, 11 November 2019

The Rainbow by Leslie Coulson

I watch the white dawn gleam,
To the thunder of hidden guns.
I hear the hot shells scream
Through skies as sweet as a dream
Where the silver dawnbreak runs.
And stabbing of light
Scorches the virginal white.
But I feel in my being the old, high, sanctified thrill,
And I thank the gods that dawn is beautiful still.

From death that hurtles by
I crouch in the trench day-long
But up to a cloudless sky
From the ground where our dead men lie
A brown lark soars in song.
Through the tortured air,
Rent by the shrapnel’s flare,
Over the troubless dead he carols his fill,
And I thank the gods that the birds are beautiful still.

Where the parapet is low
And level with the eye
Poppies and cornflowers glow
And the corn sways to and fro
In a pattern against the sky.
The gold stalks hide
Bodies of men who died
Charging at dawn through the dew to be killed or to kill.
I thank the gods that the flowers are beautiful still.

When night falls dark we creep
In silence to our dead.
We dig a few feet deep
And leave them there to sleep –
But blood at night is red,
Yea, even at night,
And a dead man’s face is white.
And I dry my hands, that are also trained to kill,
And I look at the stars – for the stars are beautiful still.


Date: 1917 (published)

By: Leslie Coulson (1889-1916)