Charlotte Mew

Charlotte Mew when young.

This is just a note to say how much I am enjoying the new edition of Charlotte Mew’s Selected Poetry and Prose, edited by Julia Copus, and recently published by Faber.

The Mew poems that speak most to me are her dramatic monologues, often with a touch of dialect, and the poems about people whose minds are differently shaped from the normal, like ‘Ken’. two of her siblings were in mental institutions, and she had obviously thought deeply about the subject.

But she was, in her own way, a war poet, too. ‘The Cenotaph’ is often anthologised, but I also like this one from June, 1915:

Who thinks of June’s first rose today?
Only some child, perhaps, with shining eyes and
rough bright hair will reach it down.
In a green sunny lane, to us almost as far away
As are the fearless stars from these veiled lamps of town.
What’s little June to a great broken world with eyes gone dim
From too much looking on the face of grief, the face of dread?
Or what’s the broken world to June and him
Of the small eager hand, the shining eyes, the rough bright head?

One Comment

  1. Tom Deveson
    Posted June 29, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! The poem is new to me and well worth reading and re-reading.

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