The start of July means that the summer months are officially here, and as we sit in the Mansion House office surrounded by gorgeous greenery in Calderstones Park, the first line of this poem by Siegfried Sassoon seems incredibly appropriate at the moment we type as the gardens are indeed currently grey and teeming with rain. Well, it wouldn’t be an authentic British summer without it, and at least it should keep the grass green in the long run…
We usually associate Siegfried Sassoon with less serene verse as he was of course one of the leading poets – and participants – in the First World War. Hundred years on from the start of the time that history will never forget, we still remember the tragedies that were faced through the poetry of Sassoon and others, and though we couldn’t possibly conceive the unimaginable horrors that were faced, the verse that is left behind helps us to connect and ensure that the efforts of the brave men are forever remembered.
You can explore the poetry and some of the prose that emerged from the terrible conflict of World War One in its centenary year at our special Short Course for Serious Readers: The Bitter Truth on Saturday 19th July at Calderstones Mansion House. Join Angela Macmillan, editor of The Reader magazine and A Little, Aloud anthologies for a morning discovering more about the momentous and memorable poetry that came from this time – bound to be fascinating and moving in equal measure. Places cost £15 (£10 concessions) and more information can be found on our website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/courses/short-course-for-serious-readers-the-bitter-truth-poetry-of-wwi
In the grey summer garden I shall find you
With day-break and the morning hills behind you.
There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;
And down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings.
Not from the past you’ll come, but from that deep
Where beauty murmurs to the soul asleep:
And I shall know the sense of life re-born
From dreams into the mystery of morn
Where gloom and brightness meet. And standing there
Till that calm song is done, at last we’ll share
The league-spread, quiring symphonies that are
Joy in the world, and peace, and dawn’s one star.