Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Strong Thing - Ivor Gurney

Photo of Ivor Gurney, Christmas 1917 (Ivor Gurney Estate/Gloucestershire Archives). Digital image © Gloucester County Council 2008 from the Oxford First World War Digital Archive.

This poem, written in December 1916 whilst serving on the Somme, shows how Gurney escaped into thoughts of the West Country in an attempt to counteract the sights he met on the front line.

"The Strong Thing

I have seen death and the faces of men in fear
Of Death, and shattered, terribly ruined flesh,
Appalled; but through the horror, coloured and clear
The love of my County, Gloster, rises afresh.

And on the Day of Days, the Judgment Day,
The Word of Doom awaiting breathless and still,
I’ll marvel how sweet’s the air down Framilode way,
And take my sentence on sheer-down Crickley Hill."

Heaven as Gloucestershire.

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