Last time, we were looking at some poems from the book “These – Our Children”, by Anthony Richardson, published in 1943. I’d like to continue with that process.
The poem “Three went singing” is quite reminiscent of a previous poem called “There was an air gunner”:
In this poem, the three men, presumably fliers, are singing on their way back home down a country lane. Perhaps because they have been together in the pub, they are singing “Danny Boy” and other favourites.
“Dumpsy”, incidentally is a noun used in south west England to refer to twilight, and for Somerset folk it refers to “the quality of the light at dusk”. Sooo…. “the twilight is dusky”.
Other singers are better in various ways but slowly the three walk on and their voices grow first faint and then fainter still. The dusk grows dark and then darker until it swallows them up:
Clearly an almost mystical parallel with the fate of men lost on RAF operations. They are happy together as they laugh and joke, waiting to get into the aircraft and take off:
But then, Night claims them for her own and the men, whether three of them or seven, disappear and are lost for ever. Not even the tiniest stone retains an echo of their song . Night, aka Death, has them all in its grasp.
My last Richardson poem is called “To any Mother” and is simple to understand, even though it is “Poetry” and therefore may be perceived by many people as being way too difficult for them to enjoy. and indeed, nothing for them to be bothered with.
Here’s the beginning:
Then the poet asks if the mother taught her son what the parsons say, namely that it is just as easy for the spirit, the mind, to understand life at twenty as it is at eighty three:
So, it was not a dead end when he met “His Friend”, namely Death, because he also met his comrades, his brothers from the crew, because they too, are now, all of them, dead.
And that discovery is no reason for misery.