A Cornish Turn: Charles Causley

Cornish Coast at Lands End, c.2012.

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 SassoonA. L. RowseSusan HillJack 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.

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Not Ready. Help Us To Be Steady

Not Ready. Help us to be Steady

 

Not ready

Was the pensioner

Scanning over her bills

With thin-skinned trembling hands

Why the cost of her pills

Was enough, without

Other costs coming in

The burden was wearing thin

And increasing her doubt

That her bones would make

Many more years

Just to add to recurrent fears.

 

Not ready was the cyclist

For her bike to take a fall

The pain squinted through her eyes

As a motorist stops and tries

To offer solace in the pain

Oh, what do we gain?

As we rush by

Could we not stop and try

To lend a little hand

But we are part of a band

Of busy-rushing-types

There’s no time to stop for likes

Of those fallen off of bikes.

 

Not ready was the poet

For days of superficial din

Of going out and in

And out

To meetings of all kind

A sort of treadmill wind

Up to irksome things

Oh, what about the pings

Of the crying soul beneath

Longing to unsheathe

The deeper side of days

Instead of the blustering craze

Of daily business strife

Give us back our life!

 

We’re not ready

 

Help us to steady

 

Ourselves

 

Today

 

There

 

Is

 

A

 

D

E

E

P

E

R

 

Way.

 

Simon C.J. Falk 24 January 2018

 

Some WATWB posts coming soon!

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A Gift 


A Gift

A received a very beautiful gift in recent days.  An small sized and elegant collection of W.B. Yeats poems. It is very fine.  One day I shall write verses in honour of Yeats.  I have often thought of it.  But suitable words have not yet come to me.

Poets Gone to the Great Rest

Poets Gone to the Great Rest

 

They are

Gone

Yet

They remain,

In their words

That soothe

Our pain.

In our memories

Word pictures

Compose

Our imagination

In repose.

Their language

Stays,

It forms the

Grammar

And vocabulary

Of our days.

For them,

No composition

A tribute makes,

For in our redactions

Stare many mistakes.

But we are

In part,

Shaped by them,

We are

the better

for the craft

of their pen.

 

 

Simon C.J Falk   6 October 2016