I’m very grateful to Polly at Rocks and Bones for drawing my attention to Charles Causley, a poet from Cornwall. Raised from humble beginnings, this sailor, teacher and poet is quite a chap. We began chatting about Welsh poets. Then, turning to Cornwall, I asked about Cornish poets and Polly sent me Charles Causley’s very fine poem Timothy Winters. It is dreadfully sad and you can find excerpts of Timothy Winters at wikipedia.
Here is a fun one called Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast.
Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast Bought an old castle complete with a ghost, But someone or other forgot to declare To Colonel Fazak that the spectre was there.
On the very first evening, while waiting to dine, The Colonel was taking a fine sherry wine, When the ghost, with a furious flash and a flare, Shot out of the chimney and shivered, ‘Beware!’
For the remainder of the poem you can read, listen to, or both, at Poem Hunter. As is often the case, writers become acquainted with other writers. As we see from wikipedia
He was corresponded with well-acquainted with such writers as Siegfried Sassoon, A. L. Rowse, Susan Hill, Jack Clemo and Ted Hughes (his closest friend) — and a host of other figures from the literary, publishing and wider cultural spheres around the world, as well the southwest region. In addition to Causley’s poetry dealing with issues of faith, folklore, memory, his wartime experience and its later impact, landscape, travel, friends and family, his poems for children were and remain very popular. He used to say that he could have lived comfortably on the fees paid for the reproduction of ‘Timothy Winters’.
Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath would be known to other poetry fans and I have mentioned Plath before.
It is wonderful to be taken on a poetic pilgrimage to new poets from other lands.
Lines based on certain regrets that come with rumination upon the painted faces of women on North Clark Street, Chicago
Roses, Red roses, Crushed In the rain and wind Like mouths of women Beaten by the fists of Men using them. O little roses And broken leaves And petal wisps: You that so flung your crimson To the sun Only yesterday.
As those who have long suffered this blog may be aware, this is primarily about poetry. I have been remiss in featuring other poets for some time. But, as I led a funeral yesterday, a poem was read. No, not the predictable Emily Dickinson, but W. H. Auden (1907-73). The poem was his well known “Stop the Clocks”. You can hear it read in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, here on this youtube clip.
Poets.org tell of Auden’s life as born in York (UK), where his family later moved to Birmingham and Oxford. He was influenced by other poets and had a private collection published in 1928. Well travelled, he also showed interest in protestant theology, play-writing, editing and essay writing. More of his biography can be read at poets.org.
Here is an excerpt from another of his works, As I Walked Out One Evening
‘O look, look in the mirror, O look in your distress: Life remains a blessing Although you cannot bless.
‘O stand, stand at the window As the tears scald and start; You shall love your crooked neighbour With your crooked heart.’
It was late, late in the evening, The lovers they were gone; The clocks had ceased their chiming, And the deep river ran on.