This week our Featured Poem, And You, Helen, comes from war poet Edward Thomas.
Anglo-Welsh poet Edward Thomas was born in London in 1878. A seasoned writer in reviews, critical pieces, biographies and a novel, it was not until 1914 that Thomas began writing poetry.
He enlisted in the army in 1915, inspired by Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, and was commissioned into the Royal Garrison Artillery. Thomas was killed in 1917 shortly after a battle on Easter Monday.
And You, Helen
And you, Helen, what should I give you?
So many things I would give you
Had I an infinite great store
Offered me and I stood before
To choose. I would give you youth,
All kinds of loveliness and truth,
A clear eye as good as mine,
Lands, waters, flowers, wine,
As many children as your heart
Might wish for, a far better art
Than mine can be, all you have lost
Upon the travelling waters tossed,
Or given to me. If I could choose
Freely in that great treasure-house
Anything from any shelf,
I would give you back yourself,
And power to discriminate
What you want and want it not too late,
Many fair days free from care
And heart to enjoy both foul and fair,
And myself, too, if I could find
Where it lay hidden and it proved kind.