Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Poetry - Winifred Holtby

Each chapter in Vera Brittain's Testament of Friendship is prefaced with one of Winifred's poems. I especially like this one, The Harvest at Anlaby. It explores the history of the Yorkshire country that Winifred knew & loved & the continuity of rural life. It reminds me a little of Edward Thomas's poems of the English countryside. Tuesday is the 80th anniversary of Winifred Holtby's death so this is in remembrance of her.

The heavy wains slow moving go
Across the broad autumnal wold
To great brown-throated men below
Who gather in the glowing gold. 

And thus it was they harvested,
They harvested at Anlaby
Before the Danes from Bessingly
Flooded the manor like the sea,
And left Earl Godwin’s barley red—
At Anlaby.

The lovers linger down the lane
When moths awake and small owls cry.
Their dresses fade, as pale moons wane,
And glimmer as they wander by. 

And thus it was they made their vows at Anlaby,
When all the wolds were young as they
Amongst the dusky sheaves they lay,
And kissed beneath the darkened boughs
At Anlaby


  1. I know her books well, but not her poetry, really liked this one though.

    1. There was a volume of her poetry published but it's not widely known. I don't think WH would have called herself a poet but I do like this one.