Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Mabel Goode (continued from the post on 7th October 2017)

On page 53 of her diary, we read that Mabel has had a poem published in "The Yorkshire Herald", one of her local newspapers, on 31st October 1914.

"To the R.A.M.C."

Who are these who go where the bullets fly,
Where the shells come crashing down,
Where thicker, and thicker, the wounded lie,
In the ranks of the khaki brown?

All un-armed are they, neither sword nor gun
Do they bear for defence or hurt.
Then what do they where the ruthless Hun
Is doing his deadly work?

Though they bear no arms, they are fighting a foe
Whose touch ends our mortal breath;
Where their comrades are stricken and lying low
They are waging a war with Death.

Thus they count not their own lives to them dear,
So their comrades' lives be saved,
While they bind up their wounds, and with tender cheer,
Bear them back where the Red Cross waves.

Is not this a Christ-like work to do?
Can a "greater love" we see?
Then give we honour where honour is due -
To the men of the R.A.M.C.

M.G. York.

From:  "The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode", edited by Michael Goode and published by Pen & Sword, Barnsley, Yorkshire, 2017.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Maria Railton (1846 - 1921) - British

My grateful thanks to Victoria Doran who sent me this poem written by the mother of a soldier who fell in the First World War. 

Maria Jackson was born in 1846 in Cumberland.  In 1869 she married Thomas Railton and the family lived in Holme East Waver, Wigton, a small market town in the county of Cumberland, which is now known as Cumbria, in the north west of England.
Maria wrote the poem following the death of her son, Edward, who was her youngest child.  He was killed while fighting in Mesopotamia in January 1917.

To find out more about the soldier, please see Victoria’s research and write up here:

He fell, the rest marched on to victory, the race was run
The day was won, Ah, God, my little son.
The patriot in his bosom blazed in answer to his country’s call
When high-born hopes were well nigh raised he gave himself – his all.
He never stopped to reason when first the war began
He went and did his duty, like a soldier and a man.

See the lonely mother weep the heartfelt silent tear,
It slowly trickles down her cheek, for the boy she loved so dear
Come, asked her reason of her sigh,
Why weeps she? What’s her care?
She mourns her slaughtered son, that’s why –
Show me the Glory there. 

Maria Railton

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Catherine W. Reilly (1925 – 2005) – British Librarian and writer ("Scars Upon My Heart")

I began my research into poetry written by women during the First World War by reading Catherine W. Reilly's anthology "Scars upon my Heart".  Then I discovered her "English Poetry of the First World War:  A Bibliography" and this has been my constant companion ever since.  I always check there first when I am researching a poet. I could not have made much progress without those two publications, so I felt I ought to add a tribute to Catherine W. Reilly's wonderful pioneering research into women's poetry of WW1.
Catherine Winifred Reilly was born on 4th April 1925 in Stretford, Lancashire, UK, the eldest of four children. Her mother’s maiden name was Macaulay and her maternal grandmother came from Ireland.  Catherine won a scholarship to Hollies Convent, a Roman Catholic Grammar School in south Manchester, which was evacuated to Clitheroe in Lancashire during in 1939.

When Catherine left school she worked for the public libraries in Manchester.  In 1947 she became Assistant Borough Librarian for Trafford in Lancashire.

Catherine is most famous for her war poetry anthologies:

“Scars Upon my Heart*: Women’s Poetry and Verse of the First World War” and “Chaos of the Night**:  Women’s Poetry and Verse of World War Two”.

For her research into the amazing “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” which took four years to complete at a time when the Internet was still a dream, Catherine was awarded a Fellowship of the Library Association.   In that work she identified 2,225 British men and women who wrote and published poetry or verse during the First World War, with a section at the back naming some of the Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, South African and American poets of the era.

In 1980, Catherine attended Merton College, Oxford where she studied for an M.Litt.  The result of that was “English Poetry of the Second World War: A Bibliography” which was published in 1986 by G.K. Hall & Co., Boston, Mass., USA.  For that work Catherine received the Besterman Medal for Bi*bliography.

Catherine also published “Winged Words***: Victorian Women’s Poetry and Verse” (Enitharmon, 1994) and was working on an early Victorian women’s poetry anthology when she died in Sale, Cheshire, UK on 26th September 2005.

*Title taken from a line in a poem by Vera Brittain.

**Title taken from a line in a poem by Frances Cornford.

***Title taken from a line in a poem by Mary Coleridge.





Friday, 3 November 2017

"Tipperary to Flanders Fields" a commemortion for Remembrance Weekend 2017 in Kent, UK

The UK Kent-based Actors’ Co-operative Katapult Productions presents "Tipperary to Flanders Fields" which commemorates the First World War in words and music, using some of the songs and poems from the era.  Some of the content tells the story of the women in WW1 in their own words.  

Devised and directed by Michael Thomas the performers will be Julia Burnett, Marie Kelly, Alan Simmons and Ann Lindsey Wickens.
Performances of “Tipperary to Flanders Fields” will be held during Remembrance Weekend 2017 at the following venues:

The Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne, ME10 4DN on 11th November 2017 at 7.30pm;
at The Astor, Deal, CT14 6AB on 12/11/2017 at 4pm;

and at The Queens Theatre, Hornchurch, RM11 1QT on 13/11/2017 at 2.30pm.

Tickets available from the box offices of the theatres.

Initial information shared from Remembering Women on the Home Front Facebook page, with further information provided by Katapult Productions.

Monday, 30 October 2017

A First World War poem by French poet Adrienne Blanc-Peridier

I posted a brief biography of Adrienne Blanc-Peridier on this weblog on 21st September 1915

I have translated of one of Adrienne's poems from her collection "Le Cantique de la Patrie, 1917" published by TYF, Flou-Nourrit & Cie., Paris, 1918, pp 23 – 24.

A detailed search has failed to find any copyright holder for Adrienne’s poems.

War swept across the plain
Dressed in red, her hair aflame !…
The young men followed her, every one
Leaving their girl friends all alone !…

War raced down the hillsides,
With feverish mouth and red eyes …
Heedless of the women who wept,
The men followed her every step.
Triumphant, insatiable, war
Runs thru' the fields and across the forest floor,
Her seductive voice exhorting the men
To join her in battle again and again.

Shivering, exhausted, out of breath,
Regardless of the smell of certain death,
They follow war, surrendering to her fatal powers
Eager to pick her lips' toxic flowers!

Translated by Lucy London, 11th and 12th October 2015


La guerre a passé sur la plaine
Avec sa robe rouge et ses cheveux épars !…
Les jeunes hommes l'ont suivie
Et les jeunes filles n'ont plus d'amoureux !…

La guerre a descendu le versant des collines,
La bouche fiévreuse et les yeux en feu…
Et sans voir les larmes des femmes,
Les  hommes ont couru sur ses pas.

La guerre triomphante et jamais assouvie
Court sur nos champs et sur nos bois,
Et sa voix haletante appelle
Les jeunes hommes au combat.

Tremblants, éperdus, hors d'haleine,
Ils vont, abandonnés à son pouvoir fatal ;
Ils veulent cueillir la fleur de ses lèvres
Dont le parfum donne la mort !

Adrienne Blanc-Peridier, 1915

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Mabel Goode (1872 – 1954) – British

It is always exciting to find another poet and browsing through a book recently, see left, I discovered that Mabel Goode, who kept a war diary, also wrote poetry.  On pages 160 - 161 of this wonderful book about Mabel's WW1 diary, you will find some of Mabel's First World War Poetry. 

Mabel was born on 27th October 1872 and, according to her Great-Great Nephew who edited her WW1 diary, Mabel was brought up by her Step-Mother because her parents died before her tenth birthday. 

The family lived in Germany from 1881 – 1887 and Mabel went to the Slade School of Art on her return from Germany.  During the Second World War she lived in Ulverston in the Lake District.  Ulverston was in Lancashire at that time.  Mabel died in 1954.  

"The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode" Edited by Michael Goode with a Foreword by Sir Chris Clark. Published by Pen & Sword (Barnsley, S. Yorkshire, UK, in 2016).  

I am hoping to find out more about Mabel soon.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Lily Horswill (1877 - 1944) - British

If you follow my weblog regularly, you will know that from time to time I receive messages from relatives of the poets on my list.

Actress and theatre producer Fidelis Morgan contacted me recently about her Great Aunt Lily Horswill, who is mentioned on page 174 of Catherine W. Reilly’s “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978).

Fidelis sent me some information about her Great-Aunt, so I went on Find my Past to complete the picture:

LILLIAN EMMA HORSWILL (1877–1944) - British

Lily was born on 17th August 1877 in Tunnel Hill, Claines, Worcestershire, UK.  Her parents were William Henry Upham Horswill, a furniture salesman, and his wife Amy, nee Chatttaway.  Lily had the following siblings: Charles H., b. 1865, Herbert W., b. 1867, Edith A., b. 1871, Lizzie A., b. 1875, Florence E., b. 1881, Walter P., b. 1883 and Sydney, b.1884.

Lily’s brother Walter, who was Fidelis’s Grandfather, served in the Army during WW1 and was badly injured during the Battle of Ypres.  Fidelis knew him as a child and he never recovered from being gassed.

In 1911, the Horswill family was living at no. 15 Warburton Road, Seaforth, Lancashire and it seems that Lily was still living there in 1939. 

Lily died on 31st August 1944 at The Little Retreat, Great Leighs, Essex.

According to Catherine W. Reilly, Lily Horswill published a poem entitled “Duty’s Call” in Liverpool in 1914.  I have not been able to trace a copy of the poem and wondered if anyone could help please.