Posts tagged ‘1945’

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Soldier and Girl Sleeping by Sheila Shannon

(On a painting by William Scott)

It is late, already, it is night,
But still they wait still spin the moments out
There is time yet and they rest
Side by side on the hard station bench
For the train will come, will break
These two apart and bear the half way

Parting in love is not so hard a thing,
(Leaving with a crystal certitude
Wrapping within the pain a kernel joy),
As parting in love’s echo,
For outgoing love bears on its ebbing tide
All things away and is more sure
In its finality than Death

These two are sleeping now
She sleeps so lightly
Wavering on the further verge of waking,
But his stillness holds her firm
In the fixed circle of his dream,
She lies within the cavities of his being
The bright imagination of his heart
And through his darkened eyes sees not
The falling hand of Time,
Nor through his sleeping ears can hear
The tiger trains prowl in and out

They sleep
And parting has no time for them
Nor place to hurt them in.

From: Dickinson, Patric (ed.), Soldiers’ Verse, 1945, Frederick Muller Ltd: London, p. 23.

Date: 1945

By: Sheila Shannon (1913-????)

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Penelope by Joan Ursula Penton Lock Wood Vaughan Williams

Certain parting does not wait its hour
For separation; too soon the shadow lies
upon the heart and chokes the voice, its power
drives on the minutes, it implies
tomorrow while today’s still here.

They sat by firelight and his shadow fell
for the last time, she thought, black patterning gold
sharp on the firelit wall. So, to compel
the evening to outlast the morning’s cold
dawn by the quayside and the unshed tears,

she took a charred twig from the hearth and drew
the outline of his shadow on the wall.
‘These were his features, this the hand I knew.’
She heard her voice saying the words through all
the future days of solitude and fear.


Date: 1945

By: Joan Ursula Penton Lock Wood Vaughan Williams (1911-2007)

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Escape by Barbara Ann Pinson Guest

After so many hours spent in the room,
One wonders what the room will do.
Whether speech or action will be first,
And whether the weather will be first
To begin.

Such long inaction is unnatural.
But why should it happen to you, when
Outside, the street has silver cars,
All unoccupied, equipped and ready
For departure? Even the kitchens
Are ready with pans, and the dishes for something
Heretofore unplanned. The people who pass
Whisper and stare, then say, “house.”
Why not accept the waiting and forego
The known? After all,
Occupancy is only a matter of making up
One’s mind. The silver cars are square
And the room is long.

Interruption would be different in a car.
It would come on the road, like trees and fern.
Like the flowers whose names have been learned.
Or sandwiches made in layers; the friction
Would be brief and quickly swallowed.
Not people. Not the stranger with the listening
Heart, or the girl without a mind. Not
Person. The encroachment would be barely
Visible. It would happen on a side road,
A detour, or a highway cut by mistake.
You would wipe it off like the windshield
And be ready for the next advance.

After all, this house is old.
How many people come creeping,
After the spider, upstairs. Some with bags
And some with baskets, and all going nowhere. They
Only want to settle under the roof like pigeons;
Quarter their young and prepare for the future.

But you are different. You have watched
The vanishing of the separate ghosts. You have seen,
Over the bannister, the disappearance
Even of those who tried to remain.
You should not wait for the walls
To speak. Go into the bathroom,
Turn on the faucett, and swim into the street.


Date: c1945

By: Barbara Ann Pinson Guest (1920-2006)

Monday, 27 January 2020

A Captive by Frederick John Blight

This toil-free moment moves me to dissent—
There are no hours offreedom, since the mind
Is no more able, ofits natural bent,
To speak with accents carefree, unconfined
By craven thoughts; but it must choose
Those syllables which meaning often lose
Through their propinquity to common sense.
Prosaic patter of the people, whence
Poetry muSt free the patient word
Whose long captivity breaks, as a bird
Engaging song, with soft sweet sibilants;
Bewitching as the song-bird chants;
One moment seeming free, but next a word,
Studied, encaged for life, a captured bird.

From: Blight, F. John, The Old Pianist: Poems, 1945, Dymock’s Book Arcade: Sydney, p. 29.

Date: 1945

By: Frederick John Blight (1913-1995)

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

We, the Young by Colin Milton Thiele

We have grown old, even in our Youth
and, having missed our cue,
will hereinafter banter with that truth….

We will rebuild no world, not we the young
grown old: for we shall spend
whole lives in filing edges from our tongues,

in whittling cynic bits of mind— the keen dismembered
shards of broken trusts;
in swabbing gashes in the ranks of the remembered.

For we have lived when hope has butted fear
bruising our battered souls
so endlessly— each hour, each day, each year,

that faith is treason and a sallow smirk
gilds the philosophy
we fondle as our masterpiece of work.

And in our time small children have descried
suspicion through young eyes—
have looked at death and have not even cried….

No, we will rebuild no world— our day is squandered;
but this we owe— the raising of a sign
to mark the horrible places where we blundered

that, standing derelict, we point the way
to these next young
who, driving ploughshares in their day,

may still behold the swords wherewith we bleed
and, shunning us,
go out to sow a richer, purer seed.

From: Thiele, Colin, Splinters and Shards: Poems, 1945, Jindyworobak Publications: Adelaide, p. 7.

Date: 1945

By: Colin Milton Thiele (1920-2006)

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Print Thine Image, Pure and Holy by Thomas Hansen Kingo

Print thine image, pure and holy,
On my heart, O Lord of Grace;
So that nothing, high or lowly,
Thy blest likeness can efface.
Let the clear inscription be:
Jesus, crucified for me,
And the Lord of all creation,
Be my refuge and salvation.


Date: 1689 (original in Danish); 1945 (translation in English)

By: Thomas Hansen Kingo (1634-1703)

Translated by: Jens Christian Aaberg (1877-1970)

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Dapper Street by Jakobus Cornelis (Jacques) Bloem

Nature is for the satisfied or hollow.
And what does it add up to in this land?
A patch of wood, some ripples in the sand,
A modest hill where modest villas follow.

Give me the city streets, the urban grey,
Quays and canals that keep the water tamed,
The clouds that never look finer than when, framed
By attic windows, they go their windswept way.

The least expectant have most to marvel at.
Life keeps its wonders under lock and key
Until it springs them on us, rich, complete.

One dreary morning all this dawned on me,
When, soaking wet in drizzly Dapper Street,
I suddenly felt happy, just like that.

From: Broer, Dick; Möhlmann, Thomas; den Ouden, Barbara; Schiferli, Victor; Steinz, Pieter; Valken, Maarten; and Vogt, Agnes (eds.), Dutch Classics: Poetry, 2012, Letterenfonds/Dutch Foundation for Literature: Amsterdam, p. 42.

Date: 1945 (original in Dutch); 2008 (translation in English)

By: Jakobus Cornelis (Jacques) Bloem (1887-1966)

Translated by: Judith Wilkinson (1959- )

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Commando by John Stanier Waller

He was too young to know the world they knew
Who were its movers; he was only
A child in their terrible hands. When he dreamt
It was of a knight wandering lonely
Through a dark forest. They used his dreams
For their own deeds of moonlight and peril.

He remained cheerful but always dreadfully alone
As he learnt how to throw bombs, gouge eyes, or find
How with a certain twist one can break a man’s neck.
Raids were his joy; he would return almost blind
With the feel of blood, go home and drink
In a kind of forgetfulness; he was envied for that.

You see, all these things were like dreams.
Each horror had its own particular place
In his nightmare; and there at the end
Stood the fair lady, the savior of his race.
That is how it should have ended; but he died, with love
The only frontier that now he could never cross.


Date: 1945

By: John Stanier Waller (1917-1995)

Friday, 14 July 2017

Liberty by Paul Éluard (Eugène Émile Paul Grindel)

On my schoolboy’s notebook
On my desk and on the trees
On the sand on the snow
I write your name

On all the pages read
On all the blank pages
Stone blood paper ash
I write your name

On the gilded images
On warriors’ weapons
On the crown of the kings
I write your name

On the jungle the desert
On nests on reeds
On the echo of my childhood
I write your name

On the night’s wonders
The white bread of days
On the linked seasons
I write your name

On each blue scrap of noon
On the pond moldy sun
On the lake living moon
I write your name

On the sky on the meadows
On the wings of birds
On the millwheel of shadows
I write your name

On the foam of the clouds
On the sweat of the storm
On the rain thick and bleak
I write your name

On every shining form
On the bells of the colors
On physical truth
I write your name

On the paths awakening
On the roads unwinding
On the crowded places
I write your name

On the lamp that is bright
On the lamp that goes dark
On my united houses
I write your name

On the fruit cut in two
Of my mirror and chamber
On my bed’s hollow shell
I write your name

On my fond greedy dog
On his pricked ears his paws
As clumsy as thumbs
I write your name

On my doorway’s springboard
On the familiar objects
On the blest hearthfire
I write your name

On all flesh yielded
On the foreheads of friends
On each hand that extends
I write your name

On the pane of surprise
On the lips that listen
Well above the silence
I write your name

On my refuge that crumbles
My beacon-tower that falls
On ennui’s walls
I write your name

On absence on nude
Solitude on each tread
Of the stair of the dead
I write your name

And on health rekindling
On danger dwindling
On hope without remembrance
I write your name

And by the power of a word
My life returns to me
I am born again to know you
And to name you


Note: This poem, written during the German Occupation of France in World War II, was dropped over Occupied France by the RAF.


Date: 1942 (original in French) 1945 (translation in English)

By: Paul Éluard (Eugène Émile Paul Grindel) (1895-1952)

Translated by: George Hill Dillon (1906-1968)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

I Was a Labourer in the Smoky Valley by Seán Jennett

I was a labourer in the smoky valley,
within the high walls, the tall dark walls of the mills,
where the hills go up to the wild moor.
I am a dog of the dales, broad is my speech,
and my ways are not the smooth ways of the south,
but hard, and used to keener weather.
All week I worked among the looms
while the cloth slacked out and the shuttles clacked
swiftly, as the woof was shot through the warp
and through my brain dim with the webs of years.
All week I was the servant of the loom,
chained to the steel for the promise of meagre coin,
six days a week, but Sunday comes
soon, and I am my master for the waking day
that found me with my whippet on the moor.
O my faithful lass! Soft was her fell;
her eyes were like deep pools stained with peat,
shafted with light; and intelligent.
She was long in the body, but strong of limb and rib,
and her muscles moved under the skin
like currents in a bay of the river.
She was swift as the wind or as the summer swallow,
and I would pit her with the local dogs,
backing her swiftness with my sweaty coin
and many a shilling have I won with her
to spend on some wet evening in a pub
or buy the tickets at the picture palace
when I took out the girl I meant to marry—
but that is all forgotten with the flesh.
I was a labourer in the smoky valley:
I am a brittle bone projecting from the sand.

From: Salt, Hannah (ed.), Magma 58: Personal Anthology, 2014, Magma: London and Edinburgh, p. 19.

Date: 1945

By: Seán Jennett (1912-1981)