Friday, 1 November 2019

Poets born on 1st November - Edmund Blunden, MC (1896 - 1974) - British

Edmund Blunden 
British WW1 soldier poet Edmund Blunden MC was born on 1st November 1895. He joined the Royal Sussex Regiment as a Second Lieutenant and served on the Western Front throughout the war. Edmund was awarded a Military Cross during the Somme Offensive.  After the war, Edmund returned to his studies at Oxford University - where he was a contemporary of Robert Graves – and in 1924 was appointed Professor of English at Tokyo University, Japan.   Later, Edmund became Professor of Poetry at Oxford University and wrote poems on rural life as well as about the war.  He was a friend of WW1 soldier poet Siegfried Sassoon. Edmund died in 1974 and is buried at Long Melford in Suffolk.

He is one of the Great War Poets remembered in Poets Corner at Westminster Abbey, London, UK.

A Concert Party at the Front 

“Concert Party: Busseboom” by Edmund Blunden

The stage was set, the house was packed,
The famous troop began;
Our laughter thundered, act by act;
Time light as sunbeams ran.

Dance sprang and spun and neared and fled,
Jest chirped at gayest pitch,
Rhythm dazzled, action sped
Most comically rich.

With generals and lame privates both
Such charms worked wonders, till
The show was over – lagging loth
We faced the sunset chill;

And standing on the sandy way,
With the cracked church peering past,
We heard another matinée,
We heard the maniac blast

Of barrage south by Saint Eloi,
And the red lights flaming there
Called madness: Come, my bonny boy,
And dance to the latest air.

To this new concert, white we stood;
Cold certainty held our breath;
While men in tunnels below Larch Wood
Were kicking men to death.

“Undertones of War” Edmund Blunden’s book about his war experiences is available to read on Archive:

Portrait of Edmund Blunden - National Portrait Gallery

Photo of Concert Party from