Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Because You Died

Title: Because You Died, Poetry and Prose of the First World War and After
Author: Vera Brittain
Genre: Poetry, Non-Fiction
Date Finished: 19 April 2009
My Rating: 5 Stars
Challenges: RYOB, 100+

Vera Brittain was a British writer whose works focused mostly on feminism and pacifism. She is best known for her autobiographical work Testament of Youth that traced her life before, during and after WWI.
This collection of poetry and prose by Vera Brittain was compiled to commemorate the90th anniversary of end of World War I in November of 1918. The volume also serves to commemorate those close to Brittain that were killed in WWI, her brother Edward, fiance Roland Leighton and two friends, Geoffrey Thurlow and Victor Richardson, as well as many of the nurses and VADs that Brittain worked with during the war in London, Malta and France.
The poetry and prose selections also serve as a look at Brittain's changing convictions from idealistic young girl at the outbreak of war to her ever increasing anti-war convictions in the years following the Armistice.
I read recently that Vera Brittian's Testament of Youth is to be made into a feature film. The article gives some good background information on Brittain.

The Superfluous Woman by Vera Brittain
Ghosts crying down the vistas of the years,

Recalling words
Whose echoes long have died;
And kind moss grown
Over the sharp and blood-bespattered stones

Which cut our feet upon the ancient ways.
But who will look for my coming?
Long busy days where many meet and part;

Crowded aside

Remembered hours of hope;

And city streets

Grown dark and hot with eager multitudes

Hurrying homeward whither respite waits.

But who will seek me at nightfall?

Light fading where the chimneys cut the sky;

Footsteps that pass,

Nor tarry at my door.

And far away,

Behind the row of crosses, shadows black

Stretch out long arms before the smouldering sun.
But who will give me my children?

1 comment:

Carrie K. said...

Thank you for bringing this book to my attention - I'm adding it to my reading list for next year, when I will be studying WW I with my 7th grader.