Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Poetry - Mary Désirée Anderson

Still thinking about the Blitz after reading Molly Rich's letters so I've chosen The Black-Out by Mary Désirée Anderson.

I never feared the darkness as a child,
For then night's plumy wings that wrapped me round
Seemed gentle, and all earthly sound,
Whether man's movement or the wild,
Small stirrings of the beasts and trees, was kind,
So I was well contented to be blind.

But now the darkness is a time of dread,
Of stumbling, fearful progress, when one thinks,
With angry fear, that those dull amber chinks,
Which tell of life were all things else seem dead,
Are full of menace as a tiger's eyes
That watch our passing, hungry for the prize.

Over all Europe lies this shuddering night.
Sometimes it quivers like a beast of prey,
All tense to spring, or, trembling, turns at bay
Knowing itself too weak for force or flight,
And in all towns men strain their eyes and ears,
Like hunted beasts, for warning of their fears.


  1. Wonderful, dark and very moving, Lyn. I was recently reading Kate Atkinson's book LIFE AFTER LIFE which has as good a description of the terror of the Blitz as I've ever read. Have you read it yet? Just wondering.

    1. I got stuck about a third of the way through LAL & have been hoping that the mood will strike for me to pick it up again. I've heard that the WWII sections are very good so I will definitely have to get back to it.

  2. Meant to add that the painting on the cover is by Dame Laura Knight who did many paintings featuring war work and a superb painting of the Nuremberg Trials if I remember correctly.

    1. Yes, LK's paintings are wonderful, especially the WWII ones. Lynne at Dovegreyreader has been to an exhibition of her portraits recently. I wish it would come my way...