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About this poet

Richard Aldington was born Edward Godfree Aldington on July 8, 1892, in Hampshire, England. He studied at Dover College and London University. He became friends with Ezra Pound and was an early member of the Imagist movement, publishing the poetry collection Images Old and New (The Four Seas Company, 1916). He married the poet H. D., another important figure in Imagism, in 1913; they divorced in 1938. 

In 1916 Aldington joined the British Army and went on to serve in the Royal Sussex Regiment in France. He began publishing poems about the war soon after; in February 1918, he wrote a letter to a friend: “It may seem to you that I have been almost wantonly morbid in these war poems…. You cannot know, you cannot understand, where you are, the mentality of the soldier—the profound shattering of the nerves, the over-wrought tension, the intensity of sensation which come to him.”

He published numerous volumes of poetry, including The Complete Poems of Richard Aldington (A. Wingate, 1948), Exile, and Other Poems (G. Allen & Unwin, 1923), and Images of War (G. Allen & Unwin, 1919). He was also known for his novels, including Death of a Hero () and his biographies, most famously Lawrence of Arabia (1955).

Aldington died in France on July 27, 1962.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
The Complete Poems of Richard Aldington (A. Wingate, 1948)
The Crystal World (W. Heinemann, 1937)
The Poems of Richard Aldington (Doubleday, 1934)
Collected Poems (Covici, Friede, 1928)
The Love of Myrrhine and Konallis, and Other Prose Poems (P. Covici, 1926)
Exile, and Other Poems (G. Allen & Unwin, 1923)
War and Love (1915–1919) (The Four Seas Company, 1919)
Images of War (G. Allen & Unwin, 1919)
Images (The Egoist, 1919)
Images Old and New (The Four Seas Company, 1916)

Prose
Introduction to Mistral (Heinemann, 1956)
Lawrence of Arabia (Collins, 1955)
Life for Life’s Sake: A Book of Reminiscences (The Viking Press, 1941)
Artifex, Sketches and Ideas (Chatto & Windus, 1935)
Women Must Work (Doubleday, 1934)
The Colonel’s Daughter (Doubleday, 1931)
Roads to Glory (Chato & Windus, 1930)
Death of a Hero (Covici, Friede, 1929)
Remy de Gourmont, A Modern Man of Letters (University of Washington, 1928)
D. H. Lawrence: An Indiscretion (University of Washington, 1927)
French Studies and Reviews (G. Allen & Unwin, 1926)
Voltaire (E. P. Dutton, 1925)
Literary Studies and Reviews (Dial Press, 1924)

Bondage

I have been a spendthrift
Dropping from lazy fingers
Quiet coloured hours,
Fluttering away from me
Like oak and beech leaves in October.

I have lived keenly and wastefully,
Like a bush or a sun insect—
Lived sensually and thoughtfully,
Loving the flesh and the beauty of this world—
Green ivy about ruined towers,
The out-pouring of the grey sea,
And the ecstasy
Of a pale clear sky at sunset.

I have been prodigal of love
For cities and for lonely places;
I have tried not to hate mankind;
I have gathered sensations
Like ripe fruits in a rich orchard…
All this is gone;
There are no leaves, no sea,
No shade of a rich orchard,
Only a sterile, dusty waste,
Empty and threatening. 

I long vainly for solitude
And the lapse of silent hours;
I am frantic to throw off
My heavy cloth and leather garments,
To set free my feet and body;
And I am so far from beauty
That a yellow daisy seems to clutch my heart
With eager searching petals,
And I am grateful even to humility
For the taste of pure, clean bread. 

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Richard Aldington

Richard Aldington was born in Hampshire, England, in 1892. An early member of the Imagist movement, he was the author of War and Love (1915-1919) (The Four Seas Company, 1919), Images (The Egoist, 1919), and numerous other books of poetry and prose.

by this poet

poem
Let the sea beat its thin torn hands
In anguish against the shore,
Let it moan
Between headland and cliff;
Let the sea shriek out its agony
Across waste sands and marshes,
And clutch great ships,
Tearing them plate from steel plate
In reckless anger;
Let it break the white bulwarks
Of harbour and city;
Let it sob
poem
The grim dawn lightens thin bleak clouds;
In the hill clefts beyond the flooded meadows
Lies death-pale, death-still mist.

We trudge along wearily,
Heavy with lack of sleep,
Spiritless, yet with pretence of gaiety.

The sun brings crimson to the colourless sky;
Light gleams from brass and steel—
We trudge on
poem
                         I

Through the dark pine trunks
Silver and yellow gleam the clouds
And the sun;
The sea is faint purple.
My love, my love, I shall never reach you.

                        II

You are beautiful
As a straight red fox-glove
Among green plants;
I stretched out my hand to caress you