Friday, October 31, 2014

A Centenary Hallowe'en Poem

English-born, Winifred Letts, spent most of her life in Ireland and is probably best known for her poem A Soft Day which regularly appeared in school readers of the fifties and sixties.

More recently she has become recognized as a war poet, having cared for many war casualties while working as a nurse in Manchester during the First World War. She published Hallowe’en and Other Poems of the War in 1916 and this was reprinted in 1917 renamed The Spires of Oxford and Other Poems.

She wrote at least three Hallowe'en poems. See this blog page.

Hallow-E’en, 1914
Winifred M. Letts

 “Why do you wait at your door, woman,
     Alone in the night?”
“I am waiting for one who will come, stranger,
     To show him a light.
He will see me afar on the road
     And be glad at the sight.”

“Have you no fear in your heart, woman,
     To stand there alone?
There is comfort for you and kindly content
     Beside the hearthstone.”
But she answered, “No rest can I have
     Till I welcome my own.”

“Is it far he must travel to-night,
     This man of your heart?”
“Strange lands that I know not and pitiless seas
     Have kept us apart,
And he travels this night to his home
     Without guide, without chart.”

“And has he companions to cheer him?”
     “Aye, many," she said.
“The candles are lighted, the hearthstones are swept,
     The fires glow red.
We shall welcome them out of the night—
     Our home-coming dead.”

1 comment:

Peter Goulding said...

Surprisingly powerful twist at the end. Enjoyed that!