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Friday, February 10, 2012

The Old Vicerage, Grantchester


Each Friday we provide the link to the blog that is hosting a celebration of poetry around the blogosphere. At that site you can find the links to the many other blogs that are posting poems (new and old), discussions of poems, and reviews of poetry books.

Enjoy the festivities!

The host this week is Laura Purdie Salas. You can find her here at Writing the World for Kids.


(Rupert Brooke, 1887-1915, English poet)

Rupert Brooke was one of the cohort of young English poets who perished in the Great War.

His most beloved poem, however, is not one of his war poems but a lyrical meditation he wrote in 1912 as he toured Europe in those innocent, sun-filled days before the onset of hostilities. In that poem, excerpted below, he asks a series of questions to express his homesickness for the idyll near Cambridge where he and his friends would gather for afternoon tea.


from THE OLD VICARAGE, GRANTCHESTER

(Café des Westens, Berlin, May 1912)

Say, do the elm-clumps greatly stand
Still guardians of that holy land?
The chestnuts shades, in reverend dream,
The yet unacademic stream?
Is dawn a secret shy and cold
Anadyomene¹, silver-gold?
And sunset still a golden sea
From Haslingfield to Madingley?
And after, ere the night is born,
Do hares come out about the corn?
Oh, is the water sweet and cool,
Gentle and brown, above the pool?
And laughs the immortal river still
Under the mill, under the mill?
Say, is there Beauty yet to find?
And Certainty? And Quiet kind?
Deep meadows yet, for to forget
The lies, and truths, and pain? . . . oh! Yet
Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?

¹ Anadyomene – an allusion to the beautiful goddess of love, the Roman Venus or the Greek Aphrodite, who is raised from the sea on a shell

6 comments:

Robyn Hood Black said...

A glimpse into another place and time - thank you for sharing, Maria. I love the surprise repetition of "under the mill..." Wishing you plenty of honey for your tea this week!

jama said...

How lovely. "Is there beauty yet to find?" I spent a few happy days in Cambridge -- positively an idyllic place. sigh . . .

laurasalas said...

Ah, this is beautiful. I especially love

And sunset still a golden sea
From Haslingfield to Madingley?

Reminds me a bit of a Gordon Lightfoot song where he's asking questions about where he used to be, called Did She Mention My Name.

Ruth said...

As soon as I saw what poem you had posted I was muttering to myself, "And is there honey still for tea?" :-)

Tara said...

There's such a sense of innocence to this...and that gorgeous photograph!

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

I loved reading the poem aloud - so many questions. And yes, there will always always be honey for tea (err, let me brew one now, chamomile tea coming up). Thank you for sharing this, Maria. :)