Sunday Poetry – Eleanor Farjeon

Eleanor Farjeon (photo below from here) is well-known as a poet & as a writer of children’s stories. However, one of the most profound relationships in her life was her friendship with the poet Edward Thomas. Eleanor was in love with Edward & he realised this but they were able to retain their deep friendship even though he didn’t return her romantic feelings. Her letters were always important to him, especially when he was in France in 1917. Edward Thomas was killed at Arras on Easter Monday 1917 & Eleanor wrote this poem, Easter Monday (In Memoriam E.T.), in his memory.

In the last letter that I had from France
You thanked me for the silver Easter egg
Which I had hidden in the box of apples
You liked to munch beyond all other fruit.
You found the egg the Monday before Easter,
And said, ‘I will praise Easter Monday now – 
It was such a lovely morning.’ Then you spoke
Of the coming battle and said, ‘This is the eve,
Good-bye. And may I have a letter soon.’

That Easter Monday was a day for praise,
It was such a lovely morning. In our garden
We sowed our earliest seeds, and in the orchard
The apple-bud was ripe. It was the eve.
There are three letters that you will not get.

8 thoughts on “Sunday Poetry – Eleanor Farjeon

  1. I think she's best known for MIB & her children's stories. She also wrote a lovely memoir of Thomas called Edward Thomas : the Last Four Years which is about their friendship & the blossoming of his poetry. He only started writing poetry in those last few years of his life partly inspired by his friendship with Robert Frost who encouraged him. All fascinating people.

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  2. It's always the details like the unread letters that are so sad, isn't it? People must have always been conscious of saying everything they needed to when a loved one was present because they didn't know if they'd ever see them again.

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  3. Vicki, it looks as though the two anthologies (Scars upon my heart & Chaos of the night) are still in print separately & are cheaper to buy new than buying the anthology secondhand (does that make sense?). I do hope you can get hold of it.

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  4. That is so beautiful, and when you get to the end, incredibly sad, as are so many of the real-life stories from that time of course. I haven't read her poetry, think I will also get myself a copy.

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  5. The women's poetry often has that feeling of quiet melancholy, doesn't it? They couldn't write about being in the front line but they knew all about waiting for a letter or dreading bad news.

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