Posts tagged ‘1917’

Monday, 8 August 2022

The Glass Bubbles by Samuel Bernard Greenberg

The motion of gathering loops of water
Must either burst or remain in a moment.
The violet colors through the glass
Throw up little swellings that appear
And spatter as soon as another strikes
And is born; so pure are they of colored
Hues, that we feel the absent strength
Of its power. When they begin they gather
Like sand on the beach: each bubble
Contains a complete eye of water.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/55891/the-glass-bubbles

Date: ?1917

By: Samuel Bernard Greenberg (1893-1917)

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

The Sleep of Death by Harley “Harry” Matthews

We see no terror in your eyes.
They say that sleeping you were found;
Now we with bayonets guard you round.
Night’s shadow up the hillside creeps,
But you still watch the lighted skies,
Although the sentinel that sleeps
The next dawn dies.

Ah, the remorse is gone that grew
To think of what my comrade said:
“Give this to her when I am dead”—
A heart-shaped thing of little worth
That held her picture for his view,
But he was killed and in the earth
Before I knew.

It was last night. My watch I kept,
The stars just overhead shone dim.
Nought moved upon the hills’ far rim.
But in the hollows shadows seethed,
And as I watched, towards me crept.
I listened: deep my comrades breathed
Where near they slept.

Below men moved innumerable –
Fancy! and yet there was a doubt.
I closed my eyes to shut them out,
And for relief drew deeper breath,
Across my lids Sleep laid his spell;
I flung it off—to sleep was death,
I knew too well.

There came a pleasant breath of air,
Cool-wafted from the stars it seemed.
I looked: now they all brightly gleamed,
Then long I watched, alert, clear-eyed.
No sleeper stirred behind me there…
Yet then of some one at my side
I grew aware.

I stared: for he stood there, though dead,
Yet looking, that seemed nothing strange;
About his form there was no change
To see within that little light.
“‘Tis I. And yet you heard no tread.
A careless watch you keep to-night,”
He laughing said.

His voice no huskier had grown,
Then while I watched, he sat and told
Me of his love just as of old.
“Give this to her,” I heard him say.
I looked, and found I was alone.
Within my hand the locket lay
Cold as a stone.

I have it here to prove he lies
Who says that sleeping I was found.
I fear not though you guard me round.
Night’s shadow up the hillside creeps,
But I can watch the lighted skies,
Although the sentinel that sleeps
The next dawn dies.

From: https://allpoetry.com/The-Sleep-of-Death

Date: 1917

By: Harley “Harry” Matthews (1889-1968)

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

The Black Spot by Hedd Wynn (Ellis Humphrey Evans)

We have no right to the stars,
Nor the homesick moon,
Nor the clouds edged with gold
In the centre of the long blueness.

We have no right to anything
But the old and withered earth
That is all in chaos
At the centre of God’s glory.

From: https://www.firstworldwar.com/poetsandprose/wyn.htm

Date: 1917 (original in Welsh); 2004 (translation in English)

By: Hedd Wynn (Ellis Humphrey Evans) (1887-1917)

Translated by: Jim Finnis (19??- )

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.
(https://www.jstor.org/stable/42829093)

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.
(http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/182342)

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.

From: https://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/moonlit-apples/

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.
— TENNYSON

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.

From: https://www.greatwarsextet.ca/the-poems

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.
(https://archive.org/details/achillestatius00achi/)

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.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45988/lines-from-a-plutocratic-poetaster-to-a-ditch-digger

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

Question:
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?

Answer:
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.
(https://archive.org/details/brokenwingsongs00naidgoog/)

Date: 1917

By: Sarojini Chattopadhyay Naidu (1879-1949)