|From the trenches
on a page of a letter which is
spattered and stained,
with the note, "Bully beef at fault,"
one finds the following poem:
[From Ivor Gurney: Collected Letters.
Edited by R. K. R. Thornton.
Northumberland: Mid Northumberland Arts Group;
Manchester: Carcanet, 1991, pp.204-205,
a letter postmarked Feb 9, 1917.]
I cannot live with Beauty out of
I search for her and desire her
all the day;
Beauty, the choicest treasure you
Most joyous and sweetest word his
lips can say.
The crowded heart in me is quick
And sweetest music born of a brighter
But though the trees have long since
lost their green
And I, the exile, can but dream
Grown magic in the mind; I watch
Of frost, and hear the song Orion
Yet O, the star-born passion of
Man's consolation sung on the quivering
Beauty immortal, not to be hid,
Of all men, each in his fashion,
give me the strong
Thirst past satisfaction for thee,
Not to be quenched . . . . O lift
me, bear me along,
Touch me, make me worthy that men
may seek me
For Beauty, Mistress Immortal,
Healer of Wrong.