NEW

Painting Blunden’s Last Home

In 1964, after eleven years of living and teaching in Hong Kong, Edmund Blunden and his family moved back to England. Edmund’s eldest daughter by his first marriage, Clare, lived in the county of Suffolk, and she helped him to find the new family home, near to her in...

Taking another look

‘That’s where the difficulty is, over there’ From the years following the First World War up until the mid-1950s, although he was often abroad Edmund Blunden was at the heart of literary England, repeatedly called on to edit, comment, review, introduce, endorse. He...

Blunden’s daughter interviewed by Emma Barnett

Blunden's daughter interviewed by Emma Barnett on 7 May 2020 about his unpublished poem 'V Day' Here is a slightly edited transcript of the interview. Emma: Margi is one of Edmund's children and she had no idea that the poem existed until a few months ago, what a...

Edmund Blunden VE Day poem

V DayIf only bits of paper could speak! This manuscript, rescued from the roundabout of circulation these manuscripts often find themselves on, has found its purpose in a way it could never have dreamt of.In 2001 the Imperial War Museum purchased an unpublished poem...

NEW

Painting Blunden’s Last Home

In 1964, after eleven years of living and teaching in Hong Kong, Edmund Blunden and his family moved back to England. Edmund’s eldest daughter by his first marriage, Clare, lived in the county of Suffolk, and she helped him to find the new family home, near to her in...

Taking another look

‘That’s where the difficulty is, over there’ From the years following the First World War up until the mid-1950s, although he was often abroad Edmund Blunden was at the heart of literary England, repeatedly called on to edit, comment, review, introduce, endorse. He...

Blunden’s daughter interviewed by Emma Barnett

Blunden's daughter interviewed by Emma Barnett on 7 May 2020 about his unpublished poem 'V Day' Here is a slightly edited transcript of the interview. Emma: Margi is one of Edmund's children and she had no idea that the poem existed until a few months ago, what a...

Edmund Blunden VE Day poem

V DayIf only bits of paper could speak! This manuscript, rescued from the roundabout of circulation these manuscripts often find themselves on, has found its purpose in a way it could never have dreamt of.In 2001 the Imperial War Museum purchased an unpublished poem...

World War 1 & World War 2

Church

Blunden’s experience as a soldier in WW1 had a lasting influence on his poetry.

Across the breadth of his work the war surfaces again and again. His poems linked to WW2 arose from his foreboding about a repetition of the horrors of WW1. Overtones of War is a collection of his war poetry edited by Martin Taylor and published by Duckworth in 1996.

CONCERT PARTY BUSSEBOOM

The stage was set, the house was packed,
The famous troop began;
Our laughter thundered, act by act;
Time light as sunbeams ran.
Dance sprang and spun and neared and fled,
Jest chirped at gayest pitch,
Rhythm dazzled, action sped
Most comically rich.
With generals and lame privates both
Such charms worked wonders, till
The show was over – lagging loth
We faced the sunset chill;
And standing on the sandy way,
With the cracked church peering past,
We heard another matinee,
We heard the maniac blast
Of barrage south by Saint Eloi,
And the red lights flaming there
Called madness: Come, my bonny boy,
And dance to the latest air.
To this new concert, white we stood;
Cold certainty held our breath;
While men in the tunnels below Larch Wood
Were kicking men to death.

EB’s note: 47 th Division Revue. That was as it actually happened, on an early
spring morning in 1917, – the 47 th Division I think gave the Revue, in a large hut
not far from Vlamertinghe.

TO WILFRED OWEN
Killed in action November 4 th , 1918

Where does your spirit walk, kind soldier, now,
In this deep winter, bright with ready guns?
And have you found new poems in this war?
Some would more wish you, with untroubled brow,
Perpetual sleep, which you perhaps wished once –
To unknow this swift return of all you bore.
And yet, if ever in the scheme of things
Past men have leave to see the world they loved,
This night you crossed the lines, for a second seen
By worried sentries. In vast tunnellings
You track the working-party; by the gloved
Wire-sergeant stand; look in at the canteen;
And I, dream-following you, reading your eyes,
Your veteran youthful eyes, discover fair
Some further hope, which did not formerly rise.
Smiling you fade, the future meets you there.

Edmund Blunden 1940

Published:
The Cherwell, Vol. 58, No. 3, 3 Feb. 1940
Augury, 27 April 1940