One Hundred Years ago today World War I started and changed the lives of a generation.
I found this poem which unusually for poetry we know from this time, is written by a woman, Jessie Pope. I think this perfectly illustrates the thoughts of the women who were at home hoping and praying for the men they knew and loved.
Socks – Jessie Pope
Shining pins that dart and click
In the fireside’s sheltered peace
Check the thoughts the cluster thick –
20 plain and then decrease.
He was brave – well, so was I –
Keen and merry, but his lip
Quivered when he said good-bye –
Purl the seam-stitch, purl and slip.
Never used to living rough,
Lots of things he’d got to learn;
Wonder if he’s warm enough –
Knit 2, catch 2, knit, turn.
Hark! The paper-boys again!
Wish that shout could be suppressed;
Keeps one always on the strain –
Knit off 9, and slip the rest.
Wonder if he’s fighting now,
What he’s done an’ where he’s been;
He’ll come out on top somehow –
Slip 1, knit 2, purl 14.
Two books that brilliantly illustrate the lives of those living through the war are: Wake by Anna Hope and Worthless Men by Andrew Cowan.