Saturday, May 11, 2019

Three more poems by W.T. Nettlefold

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One of my favourite posts on this blog is the one about Bill Nettlefold. He was a minor poet of the 1930s whom I met as a teenager and later found quoted in the introduction of the Penguin anthology Poetry of the Thirties.

The poem quoted in that introduction, an odd and angry denunciation of T.S. Eliot, was the only Bill Nettlefold poem I had ever found.

That was until a couple of days ago, when someone very kindly posted three more of his poems as a comment on my original post.

They are all derivative of the young W.H. Auden and thus very much to my taste.

Here is one of them, published in Left Review in December 1937.
A Lullaby for a Baby Born in 1937 
Oh hush thee my baby and sleep while you can,
The days that are flying will make you a man.
Sleep deeply my baby, 'tis I who should cry,
The Masters are planning the way you shall die. 
The mining and blasting, the coal that we hew,
The steel we are casting, are, baby, for you.
To mortgage your future, the brain blood and bone;
Your life an investment to cover their own. 
Oh stay as a baby, stay just where you are,
So tiny and helpless, yet bright as a star:
But buds break to blossom as brief moments fly,
And Masters are planning the way you shall die.

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