Saturday, 23 January 2021

Maurice Henry Hewlett (1861 – 1923) – British writer and poet

Maurice was born in Weybridge, Surrey, UK, the eldest child of Henry Gay Hewlett, of Shaw Hall, Addington, Kent, and his wife Emmeline Mary, nee Knowles. Dducated at the London International College, Spring Grove, Isleworth, Maurice then studied law and was called to the bar in 1891. He gave up the law after the success of his book “The Forest Lovers”. From 1896 to 1901 Maurice was, like his father before him, Keeper of Lands, Revenues, Records and Enrolments, a government post as adviser on matters of medieval law.

On 3rd January 1888, Maurice married Hilda Beatrice Herbert at St Peter's Church, Vauxhall, where her father was vicar. The couple had two children - a daughter, Pia, and a son, Francis - but went their separate ways in 1914, partly due to Hilda's increasing interest in aviation. In 1911, Hilda became the first woman in the UK to gain a pilot's licence, although she was not the first British woman to become a pilot as Winifred Buller gained her pilot’s licende in 1909.

Maurice went to live in Broad Chalke, Wiltshire. Among his friends were the poets Evelyn Underhill and Ezra Pound - who he met at the Poets' Club in London. Maurice was also a friend of J. M. Barrie, who named one of the pirates in Peter Pan - "Cecco"  - after Hewlett's son.

Maurice was parodied by Max Beerbohm in “A Christmas Garland” in the part titled "Fond Hearts Askew".  He died in London on 15th June 1923.

Maurice Hewlett’s WW1 collections were:  “A Ballad of “The Gloster” and “The Goeben” (Poetry Bookshop, London, 1914); “Flowers in the grass: Wiltshire plainsong” (Constable, London, 1920), “Gai saber: tales and songs” (Elkin Mathews, London, 1916), “Singsongs of the War: poems” (Poetry Bookshop, London, 1914) and “The song of the plow” (Heinemann, London, 1916.  He also had poems published in seventeen WW1 poetry anthologies.

From “The Village Wife’s Lament” by Maurice Hewlett with an Introduction by J. C. Squire. (Martin Secker, London, 1918)  pages 51 – 53.


When forth my love to duty went 

I sought my old home, 

My few months' joy over and spent, 

And lean years to come. 

My mother blinkt her patient eyes ; 

She said, It was to be. 

Was I less temperate or more wise 

To question t her decree ? 

Was it for this, our clasp and kiss ? 

For this end and no other 

That I was shapt to have increase, 

And call'd to be mother ? 

Did God make o'er the power to soar 

On men, that they should sink ? 

Did He outpour a flood of war 

And leave us on the brink ? 

Was't so He wove the robe of Love, 

To mock the lovely earth ? 

Sees He, above, creation move 

To death, not birth ? 

Go, thou dear head, for God is dead, 

And Death is our Lord : 

Between us, red, lies in the bed 

War, like a naked sword. 


O failing heart, accept your part, 

And thank the Lord, Who bound 

Your labour daily to the mart, 

Your service to the ground ! 

Take to the mart your stricken heart, 

Tho' the chaffer graze it ; 

Shrink not altho' the quick flesh smart- 

But meet pain and praise it ! 


He came to see me once again, 

Stiffen 'd in his new buff : 

A few short hours compact of strain, 

Too hasty for love ; 

For Love can never be confin'd, 

But asks eternity. 

To nurse the lov'd one in the mind 

The bond must first be free. 

And he, he now serv'd otherwhere 

And could not be the same ; 

To all the world my love was there 

And answer 'd to his name ; 

But not to me, oh, not to me 

The kisses of his lips 

Were as of old,, but guardedly, 

Like sunlight in eclipse. 

The moment came, I held him close, 

But had no word to say — 

Good-bye, sweetheart, Good-bye, Blush Rose 

'Twas his old way. 

Then in a hush which seem'd to rock 

Me like a leaf about, 

I heard the pulsing of the clock, 

Counting my dear life out. 

And I am here, and you are, where ? 

While the long hours go by, 

And on my eyes the glaze of care, 

And in my heart a cry. 

Bury my heart deep in the grave 

Where all its grace is hid : 

What other service should I have 

Than tend my lovely dead ? 

Sources:  Find my past, Free BMD,

Catherine W. Reilly, “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) pp. 167 - 168

Friday, 8 January 2021

A rough translation of the Charles Péguy Poem "Hereux ceux qui sont morts"

Rough translation: 

Happy are those who died for the material world,
Just as long as it was in a just war.
Happy are those who died for four corners of earth.
Happy are those who have died a solemn death.

Happy are those who have died in great battles,
Laying on the ground in the face of God.
Happy are those who died in a last high place,
Among all the pomp of grand funerals.

Happy are those who died for earthly cities.
For they are the body of the city of God.
Happy are those who died for their hearth and fire,
And the poor honours of their fathers’ houses.

Because they are the image and the beginning
And the body and the test of the house of God.
Happy are those who died in this embrace,
In the hug of honour and earthly confession.

Because this admission of honour is the beginning
And the first attempt at an eternal confession.
Happy are those who died in this crushing,
In the fulfillment of this earthly vow.

Because this wish of the earth is the beginning
And the first attempt at loyalty.
Happy are those who died in this crowning
And this obedience and this humility.

Happy are those who have died, for they have returned
To their origins of dust and ashes
Happy are those who died in a just war.
Happy are the ripe ears and happy the harvested corn.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Charles Péguy (1873-1914) – French poet and writer

"Everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics." Charles Peguy (“Notre Jeunesse”, 1909)

Born in Orléans, France on 7th January 1873, his mother Cécile was widowed when he was a baby and mended chairs for a living. His father Désiré Péguy was a cabinet maker, who died in 1874 as a result of combat wounds. 

Charles studied at the Lycée Lakanal in Sceaux, winning a scholarship to the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he attended the lectures of Henri Bergson and Romain Rolland. He joined the Socialist Party in 1895. He left the school without graduating in 1897 but continued to attend some lectures during 1898. 

Charles married Charlotte-Françoise Baudoin in 1897 and they had one daughter and three sons, one of whom was born after Péguy's death. 

From 1900 until his death in 1914, Charles was the main contributor to and the editor of the literary magazine “Les Cahiers de la Quinzaine”, which supported the Socialist Party Director Jean Jaurès. He published not only his own essays and poetry, but also works by important contemporary authors such as Romain Rolland.

When the First World War broke out, Péguy became a Lieutenant in the 19th company of the French 276th Infantry Regiment. He was killed during a battle, shot in the forehead, near Villeroy, Seine-et-Marne, France on the day before the start of the Battle of the Marne. There is a memorial to Charles Péguy near where he was killed.

Charles Péguy during Military Manoeuvres

Portrait of Charles Péguy, by Jean-Pierre Laurens, 1908

“Heureux ceux qui sont Morts…”

Heureux ceux qui sont morts pour la terre charnelle,

Mais pourvu que ce fût dans une juste guerre.

Heureux ceux qui sont morts pour quatre coins de terre.

Heureux ceux qui sont morts d’une mort solonnelle.

Heureux ceux qui sont morts dans les grandes batailles,

Couchés dessus le sol à la face de Dieu.

Heureux ceux qui sont morts sur un dernier haut lieu,

Parmi tout l’appareil des grandes funérailles.

Heureux ceux qui sont morts pour des cités charnelles.

Car elles sont le corps de la cité de Dieu.

Heureux ceux qui sont morts pour leur âtre et leur feu,

Et les pauvres honneurs des maisons paternelles.

Car elles sont l’image et le commencement

Et le corps et l’essai de la maison de Dieu.

Heureux ceux qui sont morts dans cet embrassement,

Dans l’étreinte d’honneur et le terrestre aveu.

Car cet aveu d’honneur est le commencement

Et le premier essai d’un éternel aveu.

Heureux ceux qui sont morts dans cet écrasement,

Dans l’accomplissement de ce terrestre voeu.

Car ce voeu de la terre est le commencement

Et le premier essai d’une fidélité.

Heureux ceux qui sont morts dans ce couronnement

Et cette obéissance et cette humilité. 

Heureux ceux qui sont morts, car ils sont retournés

Dans la première argile et la première terre.

Heureux ceux qui sont morts dans une juste guerre.

Heureux les épis mûrs et les blés moissonnés.


“Poètes dans la Guerre 1914 – 1918 Fasicule 1” by Pierre Virey


Monday, 4 January 2021

Edward John Langford Garstin MC (1893 - 1955) – British poet

Another poet with the family name of Garstin and another MC - however,

I cannot find a connection between Edward and brother poets Crosbie anbd Denis Garstin 

Edward was born in Kensington, London, UK on 8th June1893.  His parents were Edward Charles Garstin, an officer in the Indian Army, and his wife, Mary. 

During the First World War, Edward served as a Lieutenant and then as a Captain in the 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment and went to France in August 1914 with the British Expeditionary Force.  In 1917, he was awarded a Military Cross - ” For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Poelcapelle on 17-10-1917. His company had to spend forty-eight hours in the open, within about 150 yards of the enemy, who caused many casualties and disorganised the company. He collected the men quickly and re-established the line under heavy fire with great skill.”

In 1917, Edward married Ethel S. Hoblyn and in 1943, he married Catherine E. Alcock.  Edward died in 1955.

Edward was a prominent member of the Rosicrucian Order of the Alpha and Omega and published the book “The Secret Fire: An Alchemical Study” in 1932. 

He had poems published in 3 WW1 anthologies.



Trench rats, WW1 (photographer unknown)

"To the Rats" 

O LOATHSOME rodent with your endless squeaking, 

You hurry to and fro and give no peace, 

Above the noise of Hun projectiles' shrieking 

The sound of scratching footfalls never cease. 

There is a thing which I could never pen, 

The horror with which I regard your race, 

For how can I describe my feelings when 

I wake and find you sitting on my face. 

Oh, how shall I portray the depths I plumb 

When, stretched upon this bed, my body numb, 

I see you, agile, helter-skelter fly. 

Oh, Ignominy ! while I sleepless lie, 

You play your foolish games with eager zest 

And sport and gambol freely on my chest. 

E. J. L Garstin p. 24 “Soldier Poets: Songs of the Fighting Men”

Rats were a big problem for the troops in the trenches during the First World War.  So much so that the British Army designated a Rat Catcher Officer - Philip Henry G. Gosse (1879 - 1959). Philip, son of the poet Sir Edmund Gosse, studied medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London then became a General Practitioner with a practice in Beaulieu in the New Forest.   He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1914 and served in WW1 on the Western Front and in India. Philip was the British Army’s Official Rat Catcher Officer on the Western Front and he toured the camps lecturing about the importance of hygiene and care of food - especially left-overs and food waste.

Sources:  Find my Past

Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliogrpahy” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978)  p. 137 

“Soldier Poets: Songs of the Fighting Men”, Ed. Galloway Kyle (Eskine Macdonald, London, 2016), which is available to view as a free down-load on Archive:

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Crosbie Garstin (1887 – 1930) - British poet

Crosbie Alfred Norman Garstin was born in Mount Vernon, Newlyn, Cornwall. His parents were Norman Garstin, a Newlyn School artist, and Louisa Garstin, known as ‘Dochie’, née Jones. He was the eldest of three children, his siblings being Denys (later Denis, who also became a poet) (1890 – 1918) and Alethea (1894 – 1978). 

Educated at Brandon House, Cheltenham, Elstow School, Bedford and in Germany, Crosbie excelled at Rugby Union Football and Swimming.   As a young man he travelled extensively, working as a ranch hand in Montana in America and as a lumberjack in Canada.   He also travelled to China, Hawaii, Japan and Morocco. When he returned home his father despatched him to South Africa, where he ran a cattle ranch in Bechuanaland and was a bush ranger to the Tati Concessions.

When war broke out in 1914, Crosbie returned to Britain and in October 1914 joined B Squadron of the King Edward's Light Horse Regiment as a Private. This was a cavalry regiment for colonials. The Regiment was ordered to France on 21st April 1915, when Garstin was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal.   Commissioned on the battlefield as a Second Lieutenant on 14th September 1915, Crosbie then joined C Squadron, which was attached to the 47th (London) Division at Nœux-les-Mines and was involved in the Battle of Loos. 

In 1916, Crosbie was posted to Dublin as an Intelligence Officer. He later served in Italy on the Italian Front and served with the King Edward's Horse Regiment until 1920.

Crosbie married Lilian Barkworth in 1924  at All Saints Chruch, Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge.  He disappeared in rather strange circumstances.  He was rowing back to shore from a party held aboard a friend's yacht  - “The Osprey” - in the Salcombe Estuary on 19th April 1930. The rowing boat in which he was returning capsized and his body was never found, despite Crosbie being a strong swimmer.  His widow, Lillian, was Mayor of Penzance from 1962 – 1963.

Crosbie wrote “The Penhale Trilogy”, a novel based in 18th-century Cornwall. He also wrote poems and contributed to “Punch” magazine.   His WW1 poetry collections were:  “The Ballad of the Royal Ann and Other Poems” (Heinemann, London, 1922) and “Vagabond Verses” (Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 1917).  Crosbie also had poems included in four WW1 anthologies.

“Chemin des Dames” by Crosbie Garstin

In silks and satins the ladies went

Where the breezes sighed and the poplars bent,

Taking the air of a Sunday morn

Midst the red of poppies and gold of corn-

Flowery ladies in stiff brocades,

With negr pages and serving maids,

In scarlet coach, or in gilt sedan,

With brooch and buckle and flounce and fan,

Patch and powder and trailing scent,

Under the trees the ladies went -

Lovely ladies that gleamed and glowed,

As they took the air on the Ladies’ Road.

Boom of thunder and lightning flash -

The torn earth rocks to the barrage crash;

The bullets whine and the bullets sing

From the mad machine-guns chattering;

Black smoke rolling across mud,

Trenches plastered with flesh and blood –

The blue ranks’lock with the ranks of grey,

Stab and stagger and sob and sway;

The living cringe from shrapnel bursts,

The dying moan of their burning thirsts,

Moan and die in the gulping slough –

Where are the butterfly ladies now ?

Crosbie Garstin

The Chemin des Dames in France is part of the D18 and runs east and west in the département of Aisne between the Route Nationale 2, (Laon to Soissons) and the D1044 at Corbeny. It is some thirty kilometres long and runs along a ridge between the valleys of the rivers Aisne and Ailette. It acquired the name in the 18t Century as it was the route taken by the two daughters of Louis XV, Adélaïde and Victoire, who were known as Ladies of France. At the time, it was scarcely a carriage road, but it was the most direct route between Paris and the Château de Boves, near Vauclair, on the far side of the Ailette. The château belonged to Françoise de Châlus, former mistress of Louis XV, Countess of Narbonne-Lara and former lady in waiting to Adélaïde, whom the two ladies visited frequently. To make the way easier, the Count had the road surfaced, and it gained its new name. The ridge's strategic importance first became evident in 1814 when Napoleon's young recruits beat an army of Prussians and Russians at the Battle of Craonne.

During the First World War, three battles were fought along the Chemin des Dames east-to-west ridge located to the north of Paris. All are named after the river flowing on the south side of the ridge. Their names are as follows:

First Battle of the Aisne (1914) - Anglo-French counter-offensive following the First Battle of the Marne.

Second Battle of the Aisne (1917) - main component of the Nivelle Offensive.

Third Battle of the Aisne (1918) - third phase (Operation Blücher) of the German Spring Offensive.

Sources:   Find my Past, Free BMD and

Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) p. 137

“The Witty Vagabond – A Biography of Crosbie Garstin (1887-1930)” is a book by David Tovey, who is best known for his outstanding series of books on the artists who worked in St Ives in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. In the course of his researches into the artists, both as painters and in their social life, he became intrigued by the character of Crosbie Garstin and this biography is the result.

Crosbie Garstin featured in an exhibition entitled "Aftermath of the First World War" held at the Wilfred Owen Story Museum, Wirral, UK in 2019.

Denis Garstin MC, DSO, Order of St Catherine of Russia (1890 - 1918) – British writer, poet and soldier

Captain Denis Garstin - right -
in Russia WW1
photographer unknown

Born Denys Norman Garstin on 22nd July 1890, his parents were Norman Garstin, a Newlyn School artist, and his wife, Louisa Fanny Garstin, known as ‘Dochie’, née Jones. The family lived at 4 Wellington Terrace, Penzance, Cornwall, UK.  Denis was the middle son of three children, his siblings were Crosbie (1887 – 1930), who also became a poet, and Alethea (1894 – 1978).

Educated at Blundells School, Tiverton, Devon, where he excelled at sport, he went on to study at Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he edited “Granta” magazine. Denys joined the University Officers Training Corps and was a member of the Guard of Honour during the funeral of King Edward VI.  He then went to Russia to work as a tutor for a Russian family and while there wrote articles about Russia for the “Daily News” and “Morning Post” newspapers.   

When the war broke out Denis was in Moscow. He travelled home via Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. Volunteering for service, he was commissioned into the 18th Hussars and was posted to France in the spring of 1915. Transferred to the 10th Hussars, he joined their Machine Gun Squadron and fought during the battles of Ypres, Thiepval, Albert and Loos.  In September 1916 Denis was sent to Russia to the British Embassy in Petrograd as a member of the Anglo-Russian Commission, working with Hugh Walpole.  When the Embassy was evacuated in February 1918, Denis continued his diplomatic work with Mr Lockhart and moved to Moscow with him. He represented Great Britain at a conference held at Vologda in the spring. 

Denis managed to escape from Moscow after the British Embassy was attacked and he walked to Kem, near the White Sea, in disguise so as to avoid capture by the Red Army.   Escaping with difficulty from Moscow after the attack on the British Embassy, and wlking most of the way from Petrozavodsk disguised so as to escape the Red Army,  he caught  up with the British Army at Kem, near the White Sea, joining the Colonel of Q.H.Q. Intelligence at Kem during the third week of July. He then joined the Omega Expedition, which left Kem on 30th July. Denis arrived at Archangel on August 8th and on or about the 11th left for the front to join Haselden's column. He was killed in action on 15th August 1918, at Seletskoe and is buried in the Archangel cemetery.  His funeral was attended by representatives of all the Allied armies and the firing party was composed of American blue-jackets. 

''QUATRE SOUS LAIT'' by Denis Garstin 

Marie Therese is passing fair, 

Marie Therese has red gold hair, 

Marie Therese is passing shy. 

And Marie Therese is passing by ; 

Soldiers lounging along the street 

Smile as they rise to their aching feet. 

And with aching hearts they make their way 

After the maiden for quat’ sous lait. 

Beer in the mug is amber brown. 

Beer in the mug is the stuff to drown 

Dust and drought and a parching thirst ; 

Beer in the mug comes an easy first, 

Except when Marie Therese is near, 

With the sun in her tresses so amber clear ; 

Then quickly we leave our estaminets 

For Marie Therese's quat' sous lait. 

Yvonne Pol of La Belle Française 

Cannot compare with Marie Thérèse ; 

Berthe of the " Coq " looks old and staid 

When one but thinks of our dairymaid ; 

Beer in the mug is good to quench 

Thirsts of men who can speak no French ; 

Heaven is ours who can smile and say, 

" Marie Thérèse, give me quat sous lait”. 

Denis Garstin. Aug. 18, 1915.

Published in “Poems from Punch 1909 – 1920” (Macmillan, London 1922) p. 207. This is available to read as a free download on Archive:

An excerpt from Hugh Walpole’s Preface to “The Shilling Soldiers”:

“The Diary of a Timid Man” is exactly that mixture of imagination and hard definite realism that seems to me to be art; he had the way of giving detail a colour and form that made it his own detail without forcing it to be untrue. That he had the dramatic gift none who read “The Runaway” can doubt, and “Trooper Kinnaird” and “Love o' Woman” have humour of a very remarkable kind. As to his poetic vision, “Wind in the Trenches” and “The Pigeon” are proof enough.”    

“The Shilling Soldiers” with a preface by Hugh Walpole, was published after his death by Hodder & Stoughton in 1918 and is available to read as a free download on Archive:

Sources:  Find my Past

Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) p. 137

Du Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914 – 1918

Photograph of Denis in Russia - photographer unknown - from

Monday, 28 December 2020

Walter James Redfern Turner (1889 –1946) - Australian-born writer, critic and musician who lived in England

With thanks to Dominic Sheridan of the Australian Great War Poetry Journal who has researched Turner and his work extensively for his commemorative project, for his guidance and inspiration

I was surprised to discover that one of my all-time favourite poems - "Romance" - was written by a WW1 soldier poet. 

Walter was born in South Melbourne, Australia on 13th October 1889.  His parents were Walter James Turner (1857 – 1900), an organist at St Paul's Cathedral and a warehuseman, and his wife, Alice May Turner (née Watson), who was a musician.  Walter was educated at Carlton State School, Scotch College and the Working Men's College. 

After the death of his father, Walter and his mother went to live in Britain. The 1911 Census shows Walter working as a merchant’s clerk and residing in Hugh Street, London, S.W. with his widowed Mother, who is listed as a musician and pianist.   Among the literary personalities of the era, Walter met and became friends with Siegfried Sassoon, Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, and Lady Ottoline Morrell. Harold Monro, who founded the Poetry Bookshop and helped aspiring young poets to get their work published, included 13 of Walter’s poems in his Georgian Poetry anthologies. 

Walter spent ten months travelling and writing in Austria and Germany between 1913 and 1914 and served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery Anti Aircraft Section from 1916 to 1918.  

On 5th April 1918, in Chelsea, London, UK, James married Marguerite Delphine Dubuis (1891 - 1951).   From the First World War until the mid-1930s, Walter was known primarily as a poet. His 1916 poem entitled “Romance” ("Chimborazo, Cotopaxi....") is arguable the most famous of his poems.  Walter dedicated his collection entitled “The Dark Wind” (E.P. Dutton & Co. New York, 1920) to Siegfried Sassoon, with whom he and his wife shared a house on Tufton Street, Westminster, London, before Sassoon moved out in 1925.

Photo of Walter and Seigfried Sassoon by 
Lady Ottoline Morrell c. 1925

W. B. Yeats was "…lost in admiration and astonishment" about Walter’s poetry, including some of Walter’s work in his “Oxford Book of Modern Verse 1892–1935", published in 1936 by Oxford University Press. 

Walter was the literary editor of the weekly “Spectator” magazine from 1941 to 1946, and general editor of the Britain in Pictures series. He died in Hammersmith on 18th November 1946.  

“Recollecting a Visit to W. B. Yeats” by Walter Turner

It is most pitiful to watch men go

In search of beauty with despairing eyes,

And what it is they lack as this world lies

Open before their gaze they do not know.

These porcelain skies with billows of graven snow

They paint on cold, thin cups, and draw from strings

Voices of mourning winds and sense of wings;

From woods rob sad-faced flowers and bid them grow

Nearer their souls; ay, creep out in the night

And steal the stars and the bright Moon from Heaven,

And bring them home to decorate their dreams

My God it is a strange and pitiful sight

To see the treasury of a poet's room

And him alone there shrouded in beauty's gloom!

Walter’s WW1 poetry collections were: “The Hunter and other Poems” 

(Sidgwick & Jackson, London,1916)

“The Dark Fire” (Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 1918)

The Dark Wind (E.P. Button & Co., New York,1920) - a compilation of poems from “The Hunter”, “The Dark Fire” and “In Time Like Glass” 

And his poems were included in eight WW1 poetry anthologies.

“The Sky-Sent Death” by Walter Turner

'A German aeroplane flew over Greek territory, dropping a bomb which 

killed a shepherd.' 

Sitting on a stone a Shepherd, 

Stone and Shepherd sleeping, 

Under the high blue Attic sky; 

Along the green monotony 

Grey sheep creeping, creeping. 

Deep down on the hill and valley, 

At the bottom of the sunshine, 

Like great Ships in clearest water, 

Water holding anchored Shadows, 

Water without wave or ripple, 

Sunshine deep and clear and heavy, 

Sunshine like a booming bell 

Made of purest golden metal, 

White Ships heavy in the sky 

Sleep with anchored shadow. 

Pipe a song in that still air, 

And the song would be of crystal 

Snapped in silence, or a bronze vase 

Smooth and graceful, curved and shining. 

Tell an old tale or a history; 

It would seem a slow Procession 

Full of gestures: limbs and torso 

White and rounded in the sunlight. 

Sitting on a stone a Shepherd, 

Stone and Shepherd sleeping, 

Like a fragment of old marble 

Dug up from the hillside shadow. 

In the sunshine deep and soundless 

Came a faint metallic humming; 

In the sunshine clear and heavy 

Came a speck, a speck of shadow — 

Shepherd, lift your head and listen, 

Listen to that humming Shadow! 

Sitting on a stone a Shepherd, 

Stone and Shepherd sleeping, 

In a sleep dreamless as water. 

Water in a white glass beaker, 

Clear, pellucid, without shadow; 

Underneath a sky-blue crystal 

Sees his grey sheep creeping. 

In the sunshine clear and heavy 

Shadow-fled a dark hand downward ; 

In the sunshine deep and soundless 

Burst a star-dropt thing of thunder — 

Smoked the burnt blue air's torn veiling 

Drooping softly round the hillside. 

Boomed the silence in returning 

To the crater in the hillside, 

To the red earth fresh and bleeding, 

To the mangled heap remaining: 

Far away that humming Shadow 

Vanished in the azure distance. 

Sitting on a stone no Shepherd, 

Stone and Shepherd sleeping, 

But across the hill and valley 

Grey sheep creeping, creeping, 

Standing carven on the sky-line. 

Scattering in the open distance. 

Free, in no man's keeping. 

From “The Dark Wind”  

Dominic Sheridan, writing in his Australian Great War Journal*, has this to say:

"Walter James Redfern Turner - Australia’s Georgian Poet" served in the Royal Garrison Artillery from 1916 - 1918. He was born in South Melbourne, Australia. Writers such as Turner, Frederic Manning, Harley Matthews, Martin à Beckett Boyd and James Griffyth Fairfax, helped give Australia a literary voice in England. Walter wrote 13 poems for the Georgian School. Whether he had meant any of these poems to be chosen is difficult to say, but Harold Monro (poet and publisher) and Edward Marsh (editor), believed that these 13 poems by the expat Australian poet were worthy, not only of consideration, but also inclusion into two of the five anthological volumes of Georgian poetry”

Stephen Cribari, a poet who teaches law in America, has this to say:  “Georgian Poetry only saw maybe five volumes, many of its contributors did not survive The War, but it does seem to have brought the major figures from the end of the Victorian Era together with the poets who would have marked the fullness of the Georgian Era, some of whose writing changed with The War and then changed the arc of English poetry after the war.  

Edward Thomas, still in his prose mode, favorably reviewed the first volume.  That was just before Frost turned Thomas toward becoming a poet.  Thomas then submitted poems to Marsh for the second volume, but "Edward Marsh . . . had decided against the inclusion of either Thomas or Frost in his second volume of Georgian Poetry, not caring for Thomas's verse and imposing a new rule to exclude overseas writers from consideration."  Hollis, "Now All Roads Lead to France," p. 248 (Faber & Faber, 2011).  Thomas enlisted in The Artists' Rifles, which attracted as you know many artists and poets including Wilfred Owen.  Though nothing seems to suggest Thomas knew Owen personally, "(o)ther poet members would include two minor Georgians, W.J. Turner and Edward Shanks."  J.M. Wilson, Edward Thomas from “Addlestrop to Arras”, p. 336 (Bloomsbury, 2015).

Sources:  Find my Past, British National Archives, Free BMD,

Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St., Martin’s Press, New York, 1978) p. 319 

*Dominic Sheridan's Australian Great War Journal can be viewed here:

“The Dark Wind” is available to view as a free download on Archive:

"The Advertiser" Adelaide. Australian Associated Press (AAP). 21 November 1946. p. 8.

Photograph of Siegfried Sassoon and Walter James Turner by Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873 – 1938) c. 1925.