Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Poetry - Mabel Esther Allan

This is a wonderful anthology of women's war poetry. It's a combined edition of two earlier books edited by Catherine Reilly - Scars Upon My Heart (poetry of WWI ) & Chaos of the Night (poetry of WWII ). I've often dipped into it but I was surprised to come across this poem by Mabel Esther Allan. I knew her as a novelist - I've reviewed two of her books, Murder at the Flood & Margaret Finds a Future, & I have a couple more books on the tbr shelves thanks to the Greyladies reprints. I didn't know that she wrote poetry. Immensity was written in late 1940, the time of the Battle of Britain & expresses the fears of those left behind when their loved ones are on a mission.

You go at night into immensity,
Leaving this green earth, where hawthorn flings
Pale stars on hedgerows, and our serenity
Is twisted into strange shapes; my heart never sings
Now on spring mornings, for you fly at nightfall
From this earth I know
Toward the clear stars, and over all
Those dark seas and waiting towns you go;
And when you come to me
There are fearful dreams in your eyes,
And remoteness. Oh, God! I see
How far away you are,
Who may so soon meet death beneath an alien star.


  1. I was only just looking at a couple of secondhand copies of her work on ebay on my other tab. I've still only read the (YA) It Happened in Arles, despite my best intentions.

    1. She certainly wrote a lot of books so there's plenty of choice. She was very good at descriptions of places, I think that was one of her strengths in the books I've read so far.