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The Truth of Imagination

Welcome to a page dedicated to poetry from the past 200 years and to poet John Keats. Snippets of information on poetic lives, quotes and art to reflect the role of verse in our fast paced 21st century world. Suzie Grogan is a freelance writer and researcher who writes on literature, social history and health issues. Contact Suzie @keatsbabe on Twitter and visit her at www.nowrigglingoutofwriting.wordpress.com

Posts tagged war

Nov 13 '11

Rain - Edward Thomas (1878-1917)

Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain 
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me 
Remembering again that I shall die 
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks 
For washing me cleaner than I have been 
Since I was born into this solitude. 
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon: 
But here I pray that none whom once I loved 
Is dying tonight or lying still awake 
Solitary, listening to the rain, 
Either in pain or thus in sympathy 
Helpless among the living and the dead, 
Like a cold water among broken reeds, 
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff, 
Like me who have no love which this wild rain 
Has not dissolved except the love of death, 
If love it be for what is perfect and 
Cannot, the tempest tells me,  
disappoint.

7 January, 1916 

Nov 6 '11

War Poet - Sidney Keyes (1922 -1943)

WAR POET

I am the man who looked for peace and found 
My own eyes barbed.
I am the man who groped for words and found 
An arrow in my hand.
I am the builder whose firm walls surround 
A slipping land.
When I grow sick or mad
Mock me not nor chain me:
When I reach for the wind
Cast me not down:
Though my face is a burnt book
And a wasted town.

Keyes is known as one of the great poets of WW2. Written in 1942, just a year before he was killed in Tunisia as he covered his platoon’s retreat during a counter-attack,  ’War Poet’ is one of the outstanding poems of a war that may not have produced another Owen or Sassoon, but in its different circumstances and certainty of just cause still offers some stunning personal viewpoints of the conflict.

Nov 6 '11
Paul Nash (1889-1946)  Totes Meer (Dead Sea) 
Painted between 1940 and 1941. In the Tate Collection.
Nash, renowned landscape artist, surrealist and artist of both the First and Second World Wars,was inspired by the sight of dumped planes in Oxfordshire and said afterwards:
 ‘The thing looked to me suddenly, like a great inundating sea … the breakers rearing up and crashing on the plain. And then, no: nothing moves, it is not water or even ice, it is something static and dead.’

Paul Nash (1889-1946)  Totes Meer (Dead Sea) 

Painted between 1940 and 1941. In the Tate Collection.

Nash, renowned landscape artist, surrealist and artist of both the First and Second World Wars,was inspired by the sight of dumped planes in Oxfordshire and said afterwards:

 ‘The thing looked to me suddenly, like a great inundating sea … the breakers rearing up and crashing on the plain. And then, no: nothing moves, it is not water or even ice, it is something static and dead.’

Sep 3 '11
Wilfred Owen, a poet greatly influenced by the work of John Keats. 
Although Dulce et Decorum est and Anthem for Doomed Youth are oft quoted (and rightly so, for they are wonderful) one of my favourite Owen poems is The Parable of the Old Man and the Young. In a re-working of the story of Abraham and Isaac, it too brings home the utter futility of the slaughter in the Great War, the arrogance of politicians and generals who would rather send millions of young men to their death than swallow their pride and seek a different solution.
 

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,And took the fire with him, and a knife.And as they sojourned both of them together,Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,Behold the preparations, fire and iron,But where the lamb for this burnt offering?Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,And builded parapets and trenches there,And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,Neither do anything to him. Behold,A ram, caught in the thicket by its horns;Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

Wilfred Owen, a poet greatly influenced by the work of John Keats. 

Although Dulce et Decorum est and Anthem for Doomed Youth are oft quoted (and rightly so, for they are wonderful) one of my favourite Owen poems is The Parable of the Old Man and the Young. In a re-working of the story of Abraham and Isaac, it too brings home the utter futility of the slaughter in the Great War, the arrogance of politicians and generals who would rather send millions of young men to their death than swallow their pride and seek a different solution.

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in the thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.