Guest poem submitted by Mike Christie:
(Poem #1857) The Jolly Company
The stars, a jolly company, I envied, straying late and lonely; And cried upon their revelry: "O white companionship! You only In love, in faith unbroken dwell, Friends radiant and inseparable!" Light-heart and glad they seemed to me And merry comrades (even so God out of heaven may laugh to see the happy crowds; and never know that in his lone obscure distress each walketh in a wilderness). But I, remembering, pitied well And loved them, who, with lonely light, In empty infinite spaces dwell, Disconsolate. For, all the night, I heard the thin gnat-voices cry, Star to faint star, across the sky.
I have never been a particular fan of Rupert Brooke, but I think he has the occasional gift for a perfect turn of phrase. In this case I knew the phrase before I knew the poem: the last two and a half lines of this poem, to be exact. John Wyndham (the author of "The Day of the Triffids") quotes them in one of his more obscure books, "The Outward Urge". I read that book many years ago and loved the lines, but I only recently found the original poem. The poem itself is competent, and I am glad to have found it. But to me it turns from silver to gold at the end; those two lines are wonderfully evocative, and bring the poem's theme out with surgical and emotional precision. Mike. PS. I found this version on the web, so if [any Minstrels reader has] a text to check that would be good, since I have no faith in the accuracy of web versions.