Keith Douglas

(January 24, 1920 – June 9, 1944 / Tunbridge Wells, Kent)

Quotations

  • ''How can I live among this gentle
    absolescent breed of heroes, and not weep?
    Unicorns, almost,
    for they are falling into two legends
    in which their stupidity and chivalry
    are celebrated. Each, fool and herb, will be an immortal.''
    Keith Douglas (1920-1944), British poet. Aristocrats (l. 9-14). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
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  • ''For here the lover and killer are mingled
    who had one body and one heart.
    And death who had the soldier singled
    has done the lover mortal hurt.''
    Keith Douglas (1920-1944), British poet. Vergissmeinnicht (l. 21-24). . . Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse, The. Philip Larkin, ed. (1973) Oxford University Press.

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Cairo Jag

Shall I get drunk or cut myself a piece of cake,
a pasty Syrian with a few words of English
or the Turk who says she is a princess--she dances
apparently by levitation? Or Marcelle, Parisienne
always preoccupied with her dull dead lover:
she has all the photographs and his letters
tied in a bundle and stamped Decede in mauve ink.
All this takes place in a stink of jasmin.

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