Wilfred Owen: Miners

“You may feel keen enough to buy this week’s Nation. I have at last a poem in it, which I sent off on the same evening as writing it!!”

Wilfred Owen to his cousin Leslie Gunston, 26 January 1918.

The poem Owen was referring to in this letter was Miners, written almost exactly 100 Continue reading


A poem for a snowy weekend

There’s white stuff forecast this weekend over England, so here’s a poem specially for my snow-loving friends. It’s by Robert Bridges, who was Poet Laureate from 1913 until his death in 1930. I’ve always loved this poem and it comes to mind every time the sky turns that ominous leaden grey colour. Wrap up warm folks!

London Snow

When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
      Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;

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Learning to love Thomas Hardy

I couldn’t have been introduced to the poems of Thomas Hardy at a worse time. Starting my English A’Level aged sixteen, with a massive schoolgirl crush on heroic rebel poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, I was not impressed with Hardy’s gentle country bumpkin reflections on the harshness of rural Dorset life.  My poor English teacher was faced with a task equivalent to my parents trying to persuade me to see the merits of the Dubliners compared to the Stone Roses. I was literally about 30 years too young to get it. Continue reading

Siegfried Sassoon: The Dug-Out

Siegfried_Sassoon_by_George_Charles_Beresford_(1915)I’ve been writing a lot lately about my favourite First World War poet, Wilfred Owen, (here and here if you’re interested, or go check out the forthcoming Wilfred Owen film, the Burying Party on Facebook) but today I’m giving a shout out to his best friend and mentor, Siegfried Sassoon, who was born on this day in 1886. So in honour of his 131st birthday, here’s one of my favourite Sassoon poems. Continue reading

Song Lyric Sunday: Memorial Day

One of the things I love about Helen’s weekly prompt to share a song is the glimpse it gives me into the lives of people in different countries. This week’s theme – a song about the armed forces – is inspired by the fact that it’s Memorial Day in the United States. I’d never heard of this before, but thanks to Helen and Wikipedia I now know that it’s a federal holiday at the end of May to honour those who died while serving in the armed forces.   Continue reading