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Elizabeth Jennings–British

Elizabeth Jennings(1926-2001) Like so many contemporary poets of her time, Elizabeth Jennings, attended Oxford, fell in love with poetry and soon began to write.  After graduation from St. Ann’s College—Oxford, Jennings became a librarian. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1953. Throughout her life Jennings published over 20 volumes of poetry. Linked with Kingsley Amis, Philip … Continued

Elizabeth Jennings(1926-2001)

Like so many contemporary poets of her time, Elizabeth Jennings, attended Oxford, fell in love with poetry and soon began to write.  After graduation from St. Ann’s College—Oxford, Jennings became a librarian. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1953. Throughout her life Jennings published over 20 volumes of poetry. Linked with Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin and Thom Gunn, in a group known as “The Movement,” Jennings’ work stood out for its “unassuming technical craft and emotional restraint.” A practicing Catholic, Jennings is seen as having a spiritual nature. Throughout the 1960s she was hailed as one of the most popular English poets. Her work won her consistent praise and awards—The W.H. Smith Literary Award and the Somerset Maugham Award being two of the most significant. Jennings died in 2001.The Second World War The voice said ‘We are at War’ And I was afraid,for I did not know what this meant. My sister and I ran to our friends next doorAs if they could help. History was lessons learntWith ancient dates, but hereWas something utterly new,The radio, called the wireless then, had saidThat the country would have to be brave. There was much to do. And I remember that night as I lay in bed I thought of soldiers whoHad stood on our nursery floorHolding guns, on guard and stiff. But war meant bloodShed over battle-fields,Cavalry galloping. War On that September Sunday made us feel frightened

Of what our world waited for.

In Memory of Anyone Unknown to Me

At this particular time I have no one

Particular person to grieve for, though there must

Be many, many unknown ones going to dust

Slowly, not remembered for what they have done

Or left undone. For these, then, I will grieve

Being impartial, unable to deceive.

How they lived, or died, is quite unknown,

And, by that fact gives my grief purity—

An important person quite apart from me

Or one obscure who drifted down alone.

Both or all I remember, have a place.

For these I never encountered face to face.

Sentiment will creep in. I cast it out

Wishing to give these classical repose,

No epitaph, no poppy and no rose

From me, and certainly no wish to learn about

The way they lived or died. In earth or fire

They are gone. Simply because they were human, I admire.


      
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