She Tells Her Love
She tells her love while half asleep,
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth stirs in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.
This hauntingly beautiful poem by English poet Robert Graves often comes to me at strange and unexpected moments. It soothes with its rythm and the delicate counterplay between the long and the short lines, but it is also enigmatic, disquieting. To whom, one wonders, does she tell her love, and is there not a brooding sense of something passing, maybe an old love, even as a new one perhaps secretly manifests itself? Your thoughts...
Graves is one of several poets and writers whose paths crossed, often unknowingly, during one week in July 1916 in the crucible of Mametz Wood, a notably sanguinary landmark in the opening phase of the titanic Battle of The Somme. He had been commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, as had his friend and fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon, and their respective battalions were both here. David Jones, a then unknown artist and poet was a private in another RWF battalion, and they and several other authors wrote vivid, moving and often disturbingly visceral accounts of their experiences, as did the German writer and poet Ernst Junger, who also fought nearby during the following weeks. It is this extraordinary collection of poetry, prose and autobiographical account that will form the focal point in the broader sweep of my forthcoming photographic project.