Sit Down Sunday!

Hello hello and happy Remembrance Sunday. I hope you spent your two minutes at 11 o’clock in silence, as the rest of us all did. I’ve wondered what to write for this sunday (since I sadly missed last week) and wasn’t sure whether to suggest a classic, but sometimes criticised poet, or not. Then I thought, bugger it! Might as well.

Rupert Brooke is rather famous for his supposedly ‘naive and sentimental’, patriotic poems based on his experiences in the First World War. In fact, they cemented his fame in British literary history. His poems and his boyish good looks. Apparently, Virginia Woolf once boasted to Vita Sackville-West that she had once skinny dipped with Brooke while they were both at Cambridge. Regardless, he spent some time before the war, developing a reputation as a serious although derivative poet. The War changed that. Instead, he is now remembered for his patriotic poetry and sad ending, having died in 1915 from a septic mosquito bite.

His most famous poem is The Soldier and I have put it down here for you.

The Soldier

BY RUPERT BROOKE

If I should die, think only this of me:
      That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
      In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
      Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
      Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
      A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
            Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
      And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
            In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Patriotic yes but only in the best kind of way. I’m sure you know about the Poetry Foundation or the Poetry Archive but you can find his poems on these links:
Or better yet, buy his collection from an independent bookshop – the little things in life, eh? The pleasures of enjoying them freely. That’s what we’re lucky to have, and that’s what all these men died for.
RB
World-War-One
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