Jessie Pope always gets a bad press these days, especially from teachers who use her as an example of how not to write a war poem. Was she always that dreadful?
I’ve just become an Honorary Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, and one of the perks is that I get access to databases through their excellent library service. Today I’ve been ferreting around in the Daily Mail‘s historical archive, looking at the first printing of Sapper stories, and recipes by Evadne Price.
During the first year or so of the War, Jessie Pope, of course, wrote poems regularly for the Mail. Most are just rather simple-minded patriotism, but I rather like this, from December 1914:
That’s got a good satirical zing to it, and I do like the image of ladies knitting comforters for stockbrokers.
This one, too, about airmen, is definitely above her average; her imagination seems engaged, and takes her beyond cliché, especially in the second stanza: