read the poem.
"Violets from Plug Street Wood,
Sweet, I send you oversea.
(It is strange they should be blue,
Blue, when his soaked blood was red,
For they grew around his head;
It is strange they should be blue.)
Violets from Plug Street Wood,
Think what they have meant to me -
Life and Hope and Love and You -
(And you did not see them grow
Where his mangled body lay,
Hiding horror from the day;
Sweetest, it was better so.)
Violets from oversea,
To your dear, far, forgetting land
These I send in memory,
Knowing You will understand."
I handed it back to him without criticism. I could not have made any; the union brilliance of intellect with personal love closed my lips quite effectually. Not until after I had parted from him & he sent me the poem enclosed in a letter did I dare to say how perfect I thought this small literary gem of his. I only said "Why didn't you send me this at the same time as the violets?". "Oh, I don't know," he said,
It wasn't finished for one thing."
I looked out of the window to the sea below and asked him to take me down to it. We walked across the grass plain & along the sand to the water's edge. The sea means less to him than it does to me because he has lived close to it on & off all his life, but to me it always speaks of infinite aspirations & dreams & longings. It was just like a dream to stand with him beside me, & gaze out across the water & feel the breeze from the North Sea against my face. Far away along the coast to the north I could see Yarmouth Pier, like a black sea -
Brittain, Vera, Diary, 22 August 1915
read the poem.