Charles Causley- the Laureate’s laureate.

Because the Sunday after Easter is often a quiet one I thought it a good opportunity to share some poems on the theme of resurrection. As anyone who knows me knows , I am always happy to celebrate the anglican poetic tradition, which has provided such a rich literary seam and a justifiable cause of pride for all those of us who want to laud the unique spirit of our church. Instead I am going to concentrate on one poet alone, who until I checked my facts today I knew too little about to claim as a christian let alone an anglican!

Charles Causley was born in 1917 in Launceston, in Cornwall, and died there 86 years later. By profession he was a grammar school teacher, who had served in the Royal Navy during the war. This latter experience seems to have opened up new horizons to him, intellectually and creatively. Best known as a writer of children’s verse he was the favourite of his fellow poets to succeed John Betjeman as Poet Laureate, and his reputation has justifiably grown since his death.Never marrying his life was given over to his mother, his pupils, his county, his friendships and his craft. His faith was the spacious unconfining kind which moved his heart and allowed his imagination to roam free. Here is one of his later poems.

On the Eastern Front. Dedicated to Helmut Pabst.

He lies locked in a wood of winter snow.

The snow is blue, the shadows indigo.

If he could speak, I would not understand.

Ice seals the rifle in his silent hand.

A burst of snowflakes slithers from a fir,

Blunting the soldiers sight. He does not stir,

Nor does he speak, though what he says is clear

As the glass sky, the unforgiving air.

Pabst was killed in 1943, but his diaries were published in English in the 1980′s.

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