Journal For Poetry Challenge#7 15,01,2012

 Journal For Poetry Challenge#7 15,01,2012

Sir Herbert Read photograph Sir Herbert Edward Read (1893-1968), the poet and critic, was born in Yorkshire in 1893.

His college studies, at Leeds University, were interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War, in which he served with the Yorkshire Regiment in France and Belgium.  During his service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and Military Cross in the same year, 1918.

He continued to publish poetry for the remainder of his life, his final volume, Collected Poems, being published in 1966. Knighted in 1953 by Churchill for services to literature, Sir Herbert Read, who married twice, died on 12 June 1968.

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Herbert Read (1893-1968)
“The Happy Warrior”

His wild heart beats with painful sobs,
His strin’d hands clench an ice-cold rifle,
His aching jaws grip a hot parch’d tongue,
His wide eyes search unconsciously.

He cannot shriek.

Bloody saliva
Dribbles down his shapeless jacket.

I saw him stab
And stab again
A well-killed Boche.

This is the happy warrior,
This is he…

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The poem shows the dirty horrible side of war. The blind terror, the mental agony the mind so numbed with fear that the soldier  slobbers un- known. This is what was laughingly known as the happy warrior, this happy band! So sad so very sad.

Poetry Challenge #7 is to create a journal of links and your reactions to poems by established (living or dead poets.) Details are here.  Example response is here. Mr. Linky for Challenge #7 is directly below:

THE RED BALLET SHOES

Sad orphan

Poor, poor Karen sat and cried, she had been left alone in the world her poor mother had died.

Don’t you cry pretty little thing, said the rich lady. I shall care for you my child you will not want for anything she said with a smile..

So from a humble start Karen grew to expect the best, the finest toys and cloths, this young maid lacked nought except perhaps a heart.

As the years went by the rich lady made sure she was schooled well she was an uncommon beauty, she stood out in a crowed, lovely she may appear but she had a cold heart and she was very proud.

One day Karen was out with her benefactor they past a special shop frequented mostly by dancers and actors. She spied some red ballet shoes the like she’d never seen, oh! she thought if only she had them she could be a queen

Her benefactor was wrapped around her finger she soon had the red shoes in her hands. She could not wait to put them on she knew the like of them could not be match in many lands. Karen wore the shoes to school, she wore them out to play. She shocked the whole town as she wore them to church every Sunday.

People tutted in corners they tutted behind their hands she should not wear red shoes to church God would not for the vain gloriousness stand. The rich lady begged Karen to take care to behave and to church not the red shoes wear. Karen new that everyone adored her shoes she knew that she was beautiful and that they adored her too??

The rich lady begged her to listen but Karen left her words unheeded. Very soon the rich lady became ill and Karen’s love and care she needed. Unfortunately for the rich lady Karen would not listen and rushed of to the town’s May Day Party. She arrived looking ravishing lips red as her shoes and eyes of blue that glisten.

A stranger who could dance

All eyes upon her as she entered, Karen was delighted she scanned the room and very soon on a handsome stranger her eyes alighted. He strode across the room and very soon they were dancing she loved the way he made her feet fly he was so fleet he had them prancing.

The evening flew by she never left his arms his eyes with hers were locked she surrendered to his charms. Then all at once he was gone and she was left bereft an uneasy feeling in her soul about something strange he had said.

“Oh! what wonderful ballet shoes” were the words that he had uttered to her shoes as they danced. Just before he left he had bent down and tapped her shoes and whispered “stick fast as you dance” As he left, her feet took a ballet stance and before she could stop herself she began to dance.

She dance around the other couples covering every inch of the floor she dance up and down the hall and then out of the door. She danced down the high street and through the grave yard cold where her darling mother lay in her coffin old. She danced around the parsons house and on the village green fear grip her as she realized she could not stop and she began to scream!

She danced home to the rich lady who on her death bed lay, “Oh! Karen dear I begged you not to leave me I begged of you to stay” Sadly her apologies went unheard as the dear rich lady slipped away.

Karen tried sitting she tried laying on the floor but her feet would not stop dancing and soon they danced her out the door. They danced her through the day and they danced her through the night. All failed that tried to remove the shoes they were certainly stuck on tight.

She missed the rich lady’s funeral and that truly pained her so, but her feet would not stop dancing and with them she had to go.They carried her asleep, they carried her awake. Through hedges and through houses, churches and mountain slope, across valleys and rivers she was desperate and lost all hope.

One night she came upon a cottage of a wood cutter and his wife she begged him so to chop off her feet and she would repay them all her life. At first the wood cutter did not want to comply with her will but his wife could see the poor girl’s state she looked so tired and ill.

her severed feet

They gave her a strong drink then the wood cutter chopped off her feet, the shoes jumped up and danced still as if they were still complete. They bound her stumps and soothed her still sleep came to claim her as her shoes and feet danced out the door.

Karen was true to her word she staid and help the wood cutters wife she was no longer proud or vain she prayed more and lived a righteous life. The wood cutter and his wife began to love Karen and she began to love them too.As a token of thanks the wood cutter made her wooden feet with shoes, he also made her crutches to help her get around, she was very grateful as her shoes and feet had gone no where to be found.

Having miss her benefactor’s funeral Karen decided she wanted to go to church and pray, to say good bye to her dear friend but the same thing happened every day! As soon as she approached the church the red shoes and her feet blocked the way.Each day she returned in tears the wife would comfort her, she knew the poor girl had such a lot to bare.

One day while sitting praying an angel came her way he lifted her up in his arms and gently carried her away.

In the arms of the angel

He took her to the church , he commanded her shoes to go away, he gentle put her in a pew and left her there to pray. She prayed for her forgiveness, she prayed for her benefactors soul she prayed for her poor mother she prayed to be made whole.

The angel smiled and told her some things are not to be asked for just then she saw her mother and the rich lady standing at the door. Before she realized it she was up and running to their side she was so very happy her heart was bursting from the inside. The angel, her mother and the rich lady too ascended up to heaven. Karen was delighted to be reunited with ones she loved and her feet … minus her shoes.

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