Saturday, December 11, 2010

Grief: Vera Brittain Poems

I watched a DVD on Vera Brittain thinking she was a singer.  Vera Lynn was the singer.  Vera Brittain wrote was a writer, a feminist and a peace activist born in  1893.  During World War I she suffered the deaths of her beloved fiance, some of her best friends and finally her brother who was her best friend.  Hopefully not breaking any copyright laws here are two of her poems from her book called "Because You Died".  One is very mournful - the second is about - in my mind - marching on making our loved ones proud.


Because you died, I shall not rest again,
   But wander ever through the lone world wide,
Seeking the shadow of a dream grown vain
   Because you died.

I shall spend brief and idle hours beside
    The many lesser loves that still remain,
But find in none my triumph and my pride;

And Disillusion's slow corroding stain
   Will creep upon each quest but newly tried,
For every striving now shall nothing gain
        Because you died.

The New Stoicism

Because you smiled with eyes a little sad
One summer day, and said: "If I should die,
I would not have you weep, Beloved, nor sigh
For all the dear delights we should have had;
For I would watch you seek amid the stars
Your goal, unweakened by regret or tears,
Nor feel the shadow of my passing mars
Your journey to fulfilment through the years---
I fling defiance in the cold world's face,
And strive to grow impervious to scorn;
For should I once reveal how much I mourn
The vanished joy no time shall bring, nor space,
You'll seem to whisper: "Falter not, endure!
And if your heart is breaking, laugh the more!"

She wrote 29 books.  She eventually married and had a child.  When she died in 1970 she was cremated and had her ashes scattered on the battlefield where her brother had been killed so many years previously. 


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