Poetry Corner

MHG Celebrates National Poetry Day
Oct 8, 2015

To celebrate National Poetry Day we have assembled a few photographic portraits of our favourite poets from the MHG collection. Also, an extract from a famous poem by each poet. We hope you enjoy them.



Dylan Thomas: Under Milk Wood (extract)

Portrait photo by Bill BrandtDylan Thomas, 1941

photo by John DaviesBargoed Viaduct, Rhymney Valley, S. Wales, 1984


"To begin at the beginning:

It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and- rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine to-night in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows' weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now." 



Robert Graves: 1915

Portrait photo by Bill BrandtRobert Graves in his cottage at Churston, Devon 1941

photo by Capt. Alfred Buckham, The Skyroad over the Alps 


"I’ve watched the Seasons passing slow, so slow, 
In the fields between La Bassée and Bethune; 
Primroses and the first warm day of Spring, 
Red poppy floods of June, 
August, and yellowing Autumn, so 
To Winter nights knee-deep in mud or snow, 
And you’ve been everything. 

Dear, you’ve been everything that I most lack 
In these soul-deadening trenches—pictures, books, 
Music, the quiet of an English wood, 
Beautiful comrade-looks, 
The narrow, bouldered mountain-track, 
The broad, full-bosomed ocean, green and black, 
And Peace, and all that’s good. "



W.H. Auden: Funeral blues

photo by Ruth OrkinW.H. Auden in Venice For The Premiere Of Stravinsky’s “Rake’s Progress”, 1951

photo by Robert Doisneau, Couples kissing


"Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. 

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. 

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good."