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Tony Grist

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Charles Causley [Aug. 25th, 2017|12:59 pm]
Tony Grist
Ailz: What is this book you've just bought?

Me: The Collected Poems of Charles Causley

Ailz: Is he alive or dead?

Me: Dead.

Ailz (playing on my taste for channelled writings) Did he write them before or after?

Shewhomust brought it to my attention that- had he hung around for a few more years- Causley would have been celebrating his 100th birthday yesterday. I remembered how much I liked him and went looking for his work online. His Ballad for Katherine of Aragon brought tears to my eyes.

The Queen of Castile has a daughter
Who won't come home again
She lies in the grey cathedral
Under the arms of Spain.
O the Queen of Castile has a daughter
Torn out by the roots.
Her lovely breast in a stone cold chest
Under the farmers' boots.

There's something about the ballad form that predisposes my skin to prickle and my eyes to fill but even allowing for this weakness I don't believe there's any post-war English poem that moves me more- unless it's something else of Causley's.

I bought one of his collections in the late 60s and somehow never added to it. Well, that's rectified now.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2017-08-29 07:37 am (UTC)
He's great, isn't he? I had Figgie Hobbin as a kid and loved everything in it. My Neighbour Mr Normanton may be my favourite.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-08-29 08:24 am (UTC)
The Collected Poems arrived yesterday- and I've been browsing. I find I know lots of the early work but most of later work is new to me. He wrote quite a few poems about Australia.
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2017-08-29 02:49 pm (UTC)
I don't think I know those ones! He writes my favourite kind of poem: the sort with a 'bam' last line to surprise you and make you think.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-08-29 04:14 pm (UTC)
The Australian poems are heavily descriptive- like postcards home- and rather different from the poems for which he's famous.
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