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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.

Your Name

When I can dare at last to speak your name
It shall not be with hushed and reverent speech
As if your spirit were beyond the reach
Of homely merry things, kind jest or game.
Death shall not hide you in some jewelled shrine
Nor set you in marmoreal pomp apart,
You who still share the ingle of my heart,
Participant in every thought of mine.

Your name, when I can dare to speak it, dear,
Shall still be linked with laughter and with joy.
No solemn panegyrist shall destroy
My image of you, gay, familiar
As in old happy days,—lest I discover
Too late I’ve won a saint but lost a lover. 

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
My heart’s desire was like a garden seen
On sudden through the opening of a door
In the grey sheet of life, unguessed before
But now how magic in sun-smitten green:
Wide cedar-shaded lawns, the glow and sheen
Of borders decked with all a gardener’s lore,
Long shaven hedges of old yew, hung o’er
With gossamer,
poem
Because you live, though out of sight and reach,
I will, so help me God, live bravely too,
Taking the road with laughter and gay speech,
Alert, intent to give life all its due.
I will delight my soul with many things,
The humours of the street and books and plays,
Great rocks and waves winnowed by seagulls’ wings
poem
Will you come back to us, men of our hearts, to-night 
In the misty close of the brief October day? 
Will you leave the alien graves where you sleep and steal away 
To see the gables and eaves of home grow dark in the evening light? 

O men of the manor and moated hall and farm, 
Come back to-night, treading