Geoffrey Hill (1932 – 2016)

Geoffrey Hill has died, a remarkable poet and a profound critic. I heard him lecture  on war poetry at Oxford a few years ago, and wrote about it here.

Here is one of his poems, typically compressed and resonant:

In Piam Memoriam


Created purely from glass the saint stands,
Exposing his gifted quite empty hands
Like a conjurer about to begin,
A righteous man begging of righteous men.


In the sun lily-and-gold-coloured,
Filtering the cruder light, he has endured,
A feature for our regard; and will keep;
Of worldly purity the stained archetype.


The scummed pond twitches. The great holly-tree,
Emptied and shut, blows clear of wasting snow,
The common, puddled substance: beneath,
Like a revealed mineral, a new earth.




One Comment

  1. Bill
    Posted July 2, 2016 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Sad news. A man of wide and discriminate taste. I was delighted when – in a recent TLS piece on Charles Williams – he referenced the Arthurian poems of Drummond Allison.

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