Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Chris O'Hara's "Scars upon their Hearts" composition using women's poetry of WW1

North West composer Chris O'Hara approached me some years ago via this weblog, with regard to poetry written by women during WW1.  

Chris wanted to set some of the poems written by women to music and has now completed his work.  It is entitled "Scars upon their Hearts” and Chris selected the poems “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Sara Teasdale,“The Dancers” by Edith Sitwell, “Perhaps” by Vera Brittain and “Rouen” by May Wedderburn Cannan.

"Scars upon their Hearts" will be premiered on 24th March 2018 during a commemorative concert organised by The Manchester Chorale.  The concert is to take place at Bury Parish Church, Bury, Lancashire, BL9 0AH.  The concert features Faure’s Requiem and begins at 19.30.

Tickets are £10 or £5 concessions on the door, from Bury Tourist Board at the Fusiliers Museum or via the Manchester Chorale website https://www.manchesterchorale.org.uk/

 

 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Poems of the First World War

With thanks to the research of WW1 researcher Debbie Cameron, who has a page on Facebook commemorating the women of WW1 - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1468972083412699/
here is a Christmas poem written by a nurse at the end of the war.  Helen Nightingale features in the anthology "Great Ward Poetry" edited by Simon McNeill-Ritchie (who has a Facebook Page for Great Ward Poetry).

We had an exchange of e-mails in October 2014 about Helen's nationality and with Debbie's help I think we can now say that Helen was British.  More soon.  In the meantime, here is Helen's Christmas 1918 poem:

Christmas Poems of The First World War

poem by Kathleen Ethel Burne (1879 - 1959)

Kathleen's poetry collection "Poems by K.E.B." includes several poems written during the First World War.

Sources:  Information kindly supplied by Lesley Young who has carried out extensive research on the life and work of Kathleen, and members of Kathleen's family.

Christmas Eve, 1916 by Kathleen Ethel Burne

The little lamp burns bright; the Babe
Lies in the manger there;
The mother bends above; her hands
Are clasped in praise and prayer;
Her tender face a-light with love
Looks down upon Him there.

 
This little Child was born, they say,
To save the world from sin.
So still and peaceful lies the scene-
How crept the evil in?
What madness swept across the earth
And plunged the world in sin?

The Shepherds kneel, simple souls,
Beneath the open sky
They learn to read the signs of God
And humbly drawing nigh
They worship here the Sign that flamed
From out the midnight sky.

The Wise Men from the East with gifts
In adoration dumb
Bend low. Stern searchers after truth,
But yet in faith they come:
Before the Mother and the Child
Their restless doubts are dumb.

The gentle large-eyed ox, the ass,
Stand gazing without fear;
The camels through the open door,
And small wild things draw near-
Where all is love and peace and joy,
What room is there for fear?

So sweet and peaceful is the scene-
Ah, whence crept evil in?-
Give peace, O God, to weary hearts
And cleanse our souls from sin !
Stretch forth Thine arms, all-loving God
And draw Thy children in !

 

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: https://grangehill1922.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/edward-railton

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.

 

Source:

 


 

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.

www.katapultproductions.co.uk

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