Guest poem submitted by Valerie Clarke:
(Poem #1504) Requiem: The Soldier
Down some cold field in a world outspoken the young men are walking together, slim and tall, and though they laugh to one another, silence is not broken; there is no sound however clear they call. They are speaking together of what they loved in vain here, but the air is too thin to carry the things they say. They were young and golden, but they came on pain here, and their youth is age now, their gold is grey. Yet their hearts are not changed, and they cry to one another, 'What have they done with the lives we laid aside? Are they young with our youth, gold with our gold, my brother? Do they smile in the face of death, because we died?' Down some cold field in a world uncharted the young seek each other with questioning eyes. They question each other, the young, the golden hearted, of the world that they were robbed of in their quiet paradise.
1916. My guest poem is another Humbert Wolfe. I see you have Grey Squirrel. This is from his Requiem - The Soldier (1916). Obviously anti-war, but to me it brings such grieving for all our dead, whether young in war, or old in bed. One of those poems with a dreamy, haunting, evocative quality whose words need to be read aloud and savoured. It makes me stop and think, and shiver a little, but be thankful for Wolfe's life and skill. Wolfe was born in Milan in 1851 but grew up in Bradford, got a First at Oxford and died in 1940. He published poetry from the early 1920s while working for the Civil Service. Once considered a favourite for Poet Laureate. At the outbreak of WW2 he advocated that writers would be better employed writing propaganda than fighting. [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]