Friday, October 21, 2011

Love and War

Edward Shanks was born in England in 1892 and was a member of the British army during World War I. In 1915, though, he was "invalided out" and he finished his service away from the action. The second poem below discusses his feelings about that. This first poem, however, covers an entirely different topic...

The Cup
by Edward Shanks

As a hot traveller
Going through stones and sands,
Who sees clear water stir
Amid the weary lands,
Takes in his hollowed hands
The clean and lively water,
That trickles down his throat
Like laughter, like laughter,

So when you come to me
Across these parch├Ęd places
And all the waste I see
Flowered with your graces,
I take between my hands
Your face like a rare cup,
Where kisses mix with laughter,
And drink and drink them up
Like water, like water.


The Pool
by Edward Shanks

Out of that noise and hurry of large life
The river flings me in an idle pool:
The waters still go on with stir and strife
And sunlit eddies, and the beautiful
Tall trees lean down upon the mighty flow,
Reflected in that movement. Beauty there
Waxes more beautiful, the moments grow
Thicker and keener in that lovely air
Above the river. Here small sticks and straws
Come now to harbour, gather, lie and rot,
Out of cross-currents and the water's flaws
In this unmoving death, where joy is not,
Where war's a shade again, ambition rotten
And bitter hopes and fears alike forgotten.


* More poems by Edward Shanks here and here.

Jama has the Poetry Friday round-up today.


GatheringBooks said...

Oh wow, the British accent just floored me. I think I have fallen in love with Richard Armitage's deep sighs. Hahaha.

I know quite a number of soldiers. The first poem spoke to me deeply - but yeah, the audio clip is something else entirely (hearing him utter 'sussurations' = *lovestruck*)

maria horvath said...

What beautiful words!

And that voice!

If you want more of Richard Armitage, watch his perfomance in the romantic BBC series based on Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South" novel about the owner of a textile mill in nineteenth-century northern England. Gaskell also wrote the stories that inspired the Masterpiece Theatre series of "Candleford."

Thank you, Tabatha.

jama said...

Sigh, those British accents get me every time.

I liked the first poem a lot; the spontaneous passion was quite a surprise :).

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks for sharing these, Tabatha, and the sigh-inducing reading, too. [That sonnet here is at least the third sonnet to pop up in the Roundup today!]

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Oh my goodness what a lovely reading! He is delightful. All these poems by Shanks are wonderful; such images and contrasts! Thanks for bringing them to us.

Tabatha said...

Maria, I *loved* North and South! I haven't seen Candleford, but I liked Cranford.

Joyce Ray said...

Thank you for both Edward Shanks and the Armitage reading. I love "The Cup" and the way the last lines of each stanza mirror each other.