Posts tagged ‘1941’

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

To the Reader by Leonard Mann

These times dictate our song;
Our words must reply to shells,
Our lines shall assault new ills
Entrenched in ancient wrong.

Yet standing to I’ve seen
The pale flower of dawn expand
Full blown from a darkened land,
Where day could show no green.

And I have heard left over,
When the morning strafe was done,
A bird like a violine
Stilled brass and bass discover;

Standing in trench of mud
A man saying with grim grin,
“As opposite to this sin
Perhaps this is a God.”

This then gives leave or duty
To sing of imagined good,
From the mask of fortitude
To give a voice to beauty.

From: Serle, Percival, An Australasian Anthology (Australian and New Zealand Poems), 1946, Collins Bros & Co Ltd: Sydney and Auckland, p. 288.

Date: 1941

By: Leonard Mann (1895-1981)

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

The Griesly Wife by John Streeter Manifold

“Lie still, my newly married wife,
Lie easy as you can.
You’re young and ill accustomed yet
To sleeping with a man.”

The snow lay thick, the moon was full
And shone across the floor.
And the young wife went with ne’er a word
Barefooted to the door.

He up and followed sure and fast,
The moon shone clear and white.
But before his coat was on his back
His wife was out of sight.

He trod the trail where’er it turned
By many a mound and scree,
And still the barefoot track led on,
And an angry man was he.

He followed fast, he followed slow,
And still he called her name,
But only the wild dogs out in the hills
Yowled back at him again.

His hair stood up along his neck,
His angry mind was gone,
For the track of the two bare feet gave out
And a four-foot track went on.

Her nightgown lay upon the snow
As it might upon the sheet,
But the track that led from where it lay
Was ne’er of human feet.

His heart turned over in his chest,
He looked from side to side,
And he thought more of his blazing fire,
Than he did of his griesly bride.

And first he started walking back
And then began to run,
And his quarry wheeled at the end of her track
And hunted him in turn.

Oh, long the fire may burn for him
And open stand the door,
And long may the bed wait empty:
For he’ll never see it more.


Date: 1941

By: John Streeter Manifold (1915-1985)

Saturday, 17 November 2018

It Is Not You, Pale Lonely Star by Timothy Corsellis

It is not you, pale lonely star,
Nor you, wan weary moon,
With whom I wrestle.
Not with the delicate petal of a rose
Nor with the fantasy of a composer’s tune
Do I match mettle.

It is not death I must fear
For equally I care to live or die
But my struggle is against world’s life
Love beauty? Love nature? I might
If time were granted in this living strife.

My soul was not shaped in hands which chose
The preselection of authority
I cannot live in abstract entities
Comfortable in the canons of convention.

Oh damn the stars,
If I had time enough
I’d turn my music to their praise
But as my limit is the span of living days
I must untune the rhythms of a torpid past
To trace the stern reality of present
Before the future’s eyes.

I will not sing the song of others
In other people’s words;
I will not see the world of others
Through other people’s eyes.
But blue, far into space,
I’ll hurl my judgment of the human race
Upwards to the unassuming sky,
Farther than any bird can fly.

August 22, 1941.

From: Goethals, Helen, The Unassuming Sky: The Life and Poetry of Timothy Corsellis, 2012, Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Cambridge, p. 179.

Date: 1941

By: Timothy Corsellis (1921-1941)

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

1941 by Ruth Stone

I wore a large brim hat
like the women in the ads.
How thin I was: such skin.
Yes. It was Indianapolis;
a taste of sin.

You had a natural Afro;
no money for a haircut.
We were in the seedy part;
the buildings all run-down;
the record shop, the jazz
impeccable. We moved like
the blind, relying on our touch.
At the corner coffee shop,
after an hour’s play, with our
serious game on paper,
the waitress asked us
to move on. It wasn’t much.

Oh mortal love, your bones
were beautiful. I traced them
with my fingers. Now the light
grows less. You were so angular.
The air darkens with steel
and smoke. The cracked world
about to disintegrate,
in the arms of my total happiness.


Date: 1999

By: Ruth Stone (1915-2011)

Friday, 30 June 2017

XX by Terence Rogers Tiller

Lovers have wept and been afraid
because they found all beauty come
down to the biting of the spade
and the falling back of the loam.

But the wild blue-eyed unicorn
rages upon the heraldic air;
the brooding eyes within us mourn
there. You are burnt with beauty there.

The legend or the virgin dies;
the trembling beast beside her stands
watching the sun between her thighs
and the white garland of her hands.

Painted or dreamt her life and his,
her death and his, steady-starred:
they have two immortalities,
the chevron of a sudden bird.


Date: 1941

By: Terence Rogers Tiller (1916-1987)

Monday, 31 October 2016

Even a Man Who is Pure in Heart by Curt Siodmak

Even a man who is pure in heart,
And says his prayers by night
May become a Wolf when the Wolfbane blooms
And the autumn Moon is bright.


Date: 1941

By: Curt Siodmak (1902-2000)

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Gothic Lover by Maude Phelps McVeigh Hutchins

For Whom I Build a Tomb

It was the prettiest thing I ever saw
He stood up
And lifted out his heart
And held it high
I dreamed it
He looked like part
Of Chartres
His heart
Had wings
And he lifted it quietly
From his breast
And held it up

If I had a lover
I’d paint him white
And early small green leaves
Yellow with spring
I’d wreathe his head with
Standing back
I’d fix his locks
Curled and probably gilded
Just as I wished
Before they stayed
And then I’d wrap him nearly
In a sheath
Something like the greenery
That peas are kept in
But curling in on him a little
His whiteness
Long and narrow
Gilded at the top
Would be
Like a churchly taper
To light the candles on the altar
I would not leave him thus suspended
But diligently work
And build around him
Underneath and overhead
Long stones
Like playing cards
On edge
A small slanting block
Beneath his feet
If I were strong
I would outward build
And with many corners
Like Chartres
In another place
My lover’s tomb.


Date: 1941

By: Maude Phelps McVeigh Hutchins (1899-1991)

Friday, 17 July 2015

All Day It Has Rained by Alun Lewis

All day it has rained, and we on the edge of the moors
Have sprawled in our bell-tents, moody and dull as boors,
Groundsheets and blankets spread on the muddy ground
And from the first grey wakening we have found

No refuge from the skirmishing fine rain
And the wind that made the canvas heave and flap
And the taut wet guy-ropes ravel out and snap,
All day the rain has glided, wave and mist and dream,
Drenching the gorse and heather, a gossamer stream
Too light to stir the acorns that suddenly
Snatched from their cups by the wild south-westerly
Pattered against the tent and our upturned dreaming faces.
And we stretched out, unbuttoning our braces,
Smoking a Woodbine, darning dirty socks,
Reading the Sunday papers – I saw a fox
And mentioned it in the note I scribbled home;

And we talked of girls and dropping bombs on Rome,
And thought of the quiet dead and the loud celebrities
Exhorting us to slaughter, and the herded refugees;
-Yet thought softly, morosely of them, and as indifferently
As of ourselves or those whom we
For years have loved, and will again
Tomorrow maybe love; but now it is the rain
Possesses us entirely, the twilight and the rain.

And I can remember nothing dearer or more to my heart
Than the children I watched in the woods on Saturday
Shaking down burning chestnuts for the schoolyard’s merry play
Or the shaggy patient dog who followed me
By Sheet and Steep and up the wooded scree
To the Shoulder o’ Mutton where Edward Thomas brooded long
On death and beauty – till a bullet stopped his song.


Date: 1941

By: Alun Lewis (1915-1944)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Junior

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.


Date: 1941

By: John Gillespie Magee, Junior (1922-1941)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

For Johnny by John Sleigh Pudney

Do not despair
For Johnny-head-in-air;
He sleeps as sound
As Johnny underground.

Fetch out no shroud
For Johnny-in-the-cloud;
And keep your tears
For him in after years.

Better by far
For Johnny-the-bright-star,
To keep your head,
And see his children fed.


Date: 1941

By: John Sleigh Pudney (1909-1977)