There was an award-winning editor Murty (and try to keep it clean) and while you’re at it I’ll give you some thoughts on World Poetry Day and corners of some foreign fields.
My own holiest of holies is Alloway in Scotland where our national bard Robert Burns, who inspired everyone from William Wordsworth to Bob Dylan, grew up.
For the world, there is to misquote Rupert Brooke a corner of some foreign field which is forever poetry.
I wish the sea were not so wide
that parts me from my love,
I wish the things men do below
were known to God above.
I wish that I were back again
in the Glens of Donegal;
they’ll call me coward if I return,
but a hero if I fall.’
PATRICK MACGILL – LONDON IRISH REGIMENT
(INSCRIPTION ON MEMORIAL STONE AT ISLAND OF IRELAND PEACE PARK, MESSINES)
And no Patrick MacGill hasn’t gone down in history and exam questions like Wilfred Owen for his thoughts on World War I.
But in their darkest hour soldiers have penned some of the most stirring words which will bring a lump to the throat of anyone who sees where they fell which of course you can see on a World War Battlefields Tour.
The Road to Rome
When silence falls, things start talking,
stones, animals, plants become brothers and sisters.
And they tell us what we cannot see.’
ERNST JUNGER, SIGN IN ETRUSCAN TOWER IN FORMELLO ON THE VIA FRANCIGENA
Not sure how it sounds in his native German or if it’s even poetry.
I’m a traditionalist who likes my poems to rhyme as those who will have seen me at the Edinburgh Fringe can testify.
But it struck the right note on the Via Francigena, on the 100km walk into Rome.
Byron’s Swiss lair
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
A society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
LORD BYRON, CHILDE HAROLD
And it was to Interlaken and the Eiger in Switzerland where Lord Byron, who was up to his neck in society gossip over his private life, took exile.
Byron was considered ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ and was a real rock’n’roller of his time.
But his poetry was amongst the most beautiful of all time which is probably why he was such a hit with the ladies.
This passage though shows that Byron was a man ahead of his time with this love song to nature and appeal to protect our environment.
All of which I’ll reflect on as I read some of the best poetry around (mine) and think of World Poetry Day and corners of some foreign fields.