This is a wonderful anthology of women’s war poetry. It’s a combined edition of two earlier books edited by Catherine Reilly – Scars Upon My Heart (poetry of WWI ) & Chaos of the Night (poetry of WWII ). I’ve often dipped into it but I was surprised to come across this poem by Mabel Esther Allan. I knew her as a novelist – I’ve reviewed two of her books, Murder at the Flood & Margaret Finds a Future, & I have a couple more books on the tbr shelves thanks to the Greyladies reprints. I didn’t know that she wrote poetry. Immensity was written in late 1940, the time of the Battle of Britain & expresses the fears of those left behind when their loved ones are on a mission.
You go at night into immensity,
Leaving this green earth, where hawthorn flings
Pale stars on hedgerows, and our serenity
Is twisted into strange shapes; my heart never sings
Now on spring mornings, for you fly at nightfall
From this earth I know
Toward the clear stars, and over all
Those dark seas and waiting towns you go;
And when you come to me
There are fearful dreams in your eyes,
And remoteness. Oh, God! I see
How far away you are,
Who may so soon meet death beneath an alien star.