Edmund Charles Blunden was an English poet, author and critic. Like his friend Siegfried Sassoon, he wrote of his experiences in World War I in both verse and prose. For most of his career, Blunden was also a reviewer for English publications and an academic in Tokyo and later Hong Kong. He ended his career as Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford.
Early Years and WWI
Edmund Charles Blunden was born in London in 1896, moving with his family to Kent shortly afterwards. He was educated at Christ's Hospital and Queen's College, Oxford. Blunden was commissioned into the Royal Sussex Regiment in 1915 and served in France and Belgium from 1916 to 1919, fighting on ... more »
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Edmund Blunden Poems
Preparations For Victory
My soul, dread not the pestilence that hags The valley; flinch not you, my body young. At these great shouting smokes and snarling jags Of fiery iron; as yet may not be flung
Report on Experience
I have been young, and now am not too old; And I have seen the righteous forsaken, His health, his honour and his quality taken. This is not what we were formerly told.
The Midnight Skaters
The hop-poles stand in cones, The icy pond lurks under, The pole-tops steeple to the thrones Of stars, sound gulfs of wonder;
1916 seen from 1921
Tired with dull grief, grown old before my day, I sit in solitude and only hear Long silent laughters, murmurings of dismay, The lost intensities of hope and fear;
Here they went with smock and crook, Toiled in the sun, lolled in the shade, Here they mudded out the brook And here their hatchet cleared the glade:
To-day’s house makes to-morrow’s road; I knew these heaps of stone When they were walls of grace and might, The country’s honour, art’s delight
At Senlis Once
how comely it was and how reviving, When with clay and with death no longer striving Down firm roads we came to houses With women chattering and green grass thriving.
So there's my year, the twelvemonth duly told Since last I climbed this brow and gloated round Upon the lands heaped with their wheaten gold, And now again they spread with wealth imbrowned -
What's that over there? Thiepval Wood.
Chinese Paper Knife
For the first time ever, and only now (Long waiting where I should see) The tiny carved bird, the bony bough Start sharp into life for me.
Can you Remember?
Yes, I still remember The whole thing in a way; Edge and exactitude Depend on the day.
The Child's Grave
I came to the churchyard where pretty Joy lies On a morning in April, a rare sunny day; Such bloom rose around, and so many birds' cries
At Quincey's moat the squandering village ends, And there in the almshouse dwell the dearest friends Of all the village, two old dames that cling
I heard the challenge 'Who goes there?' Close kept but mine through midnight air I answered and was recognized
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Preparations For Victory
My soul, dread not the pestilence that hags
The valley; flinch not you, my body young.
At these great shouting smokes and snarling jags
Of fiery iron; as yet may not be flung
The dice that claims you. Manly move among
These ruins, and what you must do, do well;
Look, here are gardens, there mossed boughs are hung
With apples who bright cheeks none might excel,
And there's a house as yet unshattered by a shell.
"I'll do my best," the soul makes sad reply,
"And I will mark the yet unmurdered tree,
The tokens of dear homes that court the eye,