Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Charles Causley

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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