I have chosen a War Poet from the Second World War Period, I hope you will enjoy it
Keith Barnes – Born – November 12, 1934 – Dagenham, Essex, England.
Died – September 10, 1969 at the young age of 34 – Paris, France.
He lived with the author Jacqueline Starer, they met in Paris in 1963. He devoted himself entirely to writing, they lived together until his Death.
Keith Barnes was born to a modest family in Dagenham in Essex. He was far too young when he died at the age of 34 years, from Terminal Leukemia.
He was six years of age when the Blitz hit the East End of London, where he was living with his family, before he was evacuated twice.
What he witnessed of the bombings of civilian targets left him marked for life. As a child he painted watercolours with his Grandfather. When he was 12 years of age he obtained a scholarship to study at The Royal Academy of Music. When he reached 15 years of age he was Awarded the First Prize in Compositions. Some of his works were played by the East London Music Festival.
He appeared to be destined for a career as a composer when in 1959, Keith Barnes destroyed all of his musical compositions with the exception of a cello suite. It was one year later that he wrote “Devaluation”, which was inspired by World War II, but as well the two preceding Wars.. His first poem was published by The Times Literary Supplement.
Keith Barnes published three collections; Born to Flying Glass – 1967. The Thick Skin – 1968. Ain’t Hung Yet 1969.
Keith Barnes’s work includes poems about War and Post-War, about Love, society and about writing. His writing style was simple, accessible and concrete. Sometimes close to childhood, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes familiar, sometimes tragic, humor is omnipresent. His voice was distinct, profound, full of emotion but also sarcasm and melancholy, it is the voice of a poet who died far too soon.
I looked at the penny in my hand
three years before my grandmother was due
You were the penny my great-grandad spent
tossing you proudly while you blinked
my grandfather clenched you in his clammy fist
sent scuttering for a bag of broken biscuits
father stuck you in one eye
feigning for friends Lord Fauntleroy
Now you blink no longer being blind
Time opened your eyes to blow in thorns and sand
Time lifted your lids to search and saw
complacency grown fecund
thrust in three wars – The Boar – The Great – The Second
Great-grandad tossed his grenade at a Boer
grandfather clenched curdling throats seared with gore
father stuck bayonets through fat and through thin
until they in turn smacked the the dust in death’s grin –
while you passed from pocket to pursue till and shelf
marking the years with your dumb vagrant self
while you stayed pretty for thoughts and round
wise plain honest and in for a pound
I looked at you lying there in my hand
should I accuse you? I asked
accuse you for making it all seem such a farce?
for passing through what you had not planned
for waiting against the waiting and the dying
against the tearing – bleeding crying?
Can I accuse the water for reflecting
flying birds as I do you for passively accepting?
you are mnemonic of our guilt
I crouch and dig a hole and bury you
Vera Lynn, Britain’s Most Loved Lady. I was born 1949 and Vera Lynn has always been so “special” to the UK. She went everywhere to entertain the Troops and they loved her, still do.