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About this poet

Winifred M. Letts was a novelist, playwright, and poet. Born in England in 1882, she moved to Ireland as a young woman. Her collections include More Songs from Leinster (John Murray, 1926), The Spires of Oxford and Other Poems (E. P. Dutton and Company, 1918), Hallow-e’en and Poems of the War (John Murray, 1916), and Songs from Leinster (John Murray, 1913). Letts, who served as a masseuse in army camps during World War I, famously wrote about her experiences during the war, as well as the joys of rural life in Ireland. She died in 1972.

Dead

In misty cerements they wrapped the word
My heart had feared so long: dead... dead... I heard
But marvelled they could think the thing was true
Because death cannot be for such as you.
So while they spoke kind words to suit my need
Of foolish idle things my heart took heed,
Your racquet and worn-out tennis shoe,
Your pipe upon the mantel,—then a bird
Upon the wind-tossed larch began to sing
And I remembered how one day in Spring
You found the wren’s nest in the wall and said
“Hush!... listen! I can hear them quarrelling...”
The tennis court is marked, the wrens are fled,
But you are dead, beloved, you are dead

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Winifred M. Letts

Winifred M. Letts was a novelist, playwright, and poet who famously wrote about her experiences during World War I. Her collections include More Songs from Leinster (John Murray, 1926), and The Spires of Oxford and Other Poems (E. P. Dutton and Company, 1918). She died in 1972.

by this poet

poem
I love you in all loveliness, sweetheart.
Skies, stars and flowers speak of you to me
And every season is your emissary
Lest I forget you now we are apart.

The tracery of leafless trees inset
Upon a saffron sky: warm nights in June
When corncrakes shout beneath a full low moon;
September mornings in a world dew-
poem
Would God that I might build my love in stone
That would out-time the centuries and dare
Despiteful death to lay his finger there,
So that your fame to all men might be known;
A minister church, crowned with a soaring spire,
Great buttressed walls, clerestory, lofty nave,
Deep carven doors and every window brave
poem

Courage came to you with your boyhood's grace
     Of ardent life and limb.
Each day new dangers steeled you to the test,
     To ride, to climb, to swim.
Your hot blood taught you carelessness of death
          With every breath.

So when you went to play another game