Graves was typically a cool-eyed self-appraiser, but quite unreliable when love was his topic. He left out some jewels, and included some mushy mash-notes. Of course, the competition among love poets was a bit sparse in the twentieth century; Graves would have had a harder time excelling had he been born with the Romantics of the nineteenth century, or the Elizabethans of the seventeenth. As it was, many of his most accomplished contemporaries hardly gave love a glance—in their work, anyway. I do think that E. Actually, any sound person must dismiss much of his love poetry as self-congratulatory and goopy. If the love poets of the twentieth century left a vacuum, critics have rushed in to fill it.
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Having just read your earlier post containing Auden's poem about Edward Thomas, I can't help thinking of Eleanor Farjeon reading this one. Thank you, zmkc -- I hadn't thought of that. In one of his last letters to her, Thomas wrote: 'What is coming is to be worse than anything I know so far. It is worse for you and for Helen [his wife] and Mother, I know. As always, thanks for stopping by. Post a Comment. First Known When Lost. Follow by Email. About Me Stephen Pentz View my complete profile. My Blog List.
Love without hope, as when the young bird-catcher Swept off his tall hat to the Squire's own daughter, So let the imprisoned larks escape and fly Singing about her head, as she rode by. I saw this poem 35 years ago, written up on the chalkboard of a school in which I was teaching English lit. It has haunted my imagination ever since despite not knowing its authorship until today. With great economy, it establishes a vivid roadside scene which one can dress in the imagination with all the detail, and even character positioning, of an incident in a colour film screenplay. That it can also evoke all the injustice of social-class and manmade barriers to fulfillment as well as the hopelessness of unattainable, unrequited love, is truly remarkable.
Hope has been on my mind, partially due to the political milieu. During times like these, hope is often invoked as a means of self-preservation and as a way of moving forward. It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear, that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country.