Shells used to come bursting on my bed at midnight, even though Nancy shared it with me; strangers in daytime would assume the faces of friends who had been killed... I could not use a telephone, I felt sick every time I travelled by train, and to see more than two new people in a single day prevented me from sleeping.
Ch.26 On being at home in Harlech in 1919. During the First World War, the mental effects of war on the fighting men were called shell shock or neurasthenia — or dismissed altogether as cowardice. Graves describes very clearly symptoms of what would now be seen as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Each curs'd his fate that thus their project cross'd; How hard their lot who neither won nor lost.Robert Graves
Christ of His gentleness Thirsting and hungering, Walked in the wilderness; Soft words of grace He spoke Unto lost desert-folk That listened wondering.Robert Graves
His eyes are quickened so with grief, He can watch a grass or leaf Every instant grow; he can Clearly through a flint wall see, Or watch the startled spirit flee From the throat of a dead man.Robert Graves
There’s a cool web of language winds us in, Retreat from too much joy or too much fear: We grow sea-green at last and coldly die In brininess and volubility.Robert Graves
As you are woman, so be lovely: As you are lovely, so be various, Merciful as constant, constant as various, So be mine, as I yours for ever.Robert Graves
What, then, was war? No mere discord of flags But an infection of the common sky That sagged ominously upon the earth.Robert Graves
War was return of earth to ugly earth, War was foundering of sublimities, Extinction of each happy art and faith By which the world had still kept head in air.Robert Graves
Take courage, lover! Could you endure such pain At any hand but hers?Robert Graves
It doesn't matter what's the cause, What wrong they say we're righting, A curse for treaties, bonds and laws, When we're to do the fighting!Robert Graves
Let statesmen bluster, bark and bray, And so decide who started This bloody war, and who's to pay, But he must be stout-hearted, Must sit and stake with quiet breath, Playing at cards with Death. Don't plume yourself he fights for you; It is no courage, love, or hate, But let us do the things we do; It's pride that makes the heart be great; It is not anger, no, nor fear Lucasta he's a Fusilier, And his pride keeps him here.Robert Graves
Children born of fairy stock Never need for shirt or frock, Never want for food or fire, Always get their heart's desire...Robert Graves
Every fairy child may keep Two strong ponies and ten sheep; All have houses, each his own, Built of brick or granite stone; They live on cherries, they run wild I'd love to be a Fairy's child.Robert Graves
Another War soon gets begun, A dirtier, a more glorious one; Then, boys, you'll have to play, all in; It's the cruellest team will win. So hold your nose against the stink And never stop too long to think. Wars don't change except in name; The next one must go just the same, And new foul tricks unguessed before Will win and justify this War.Robert Graves
Riding on the shell and shot. He smites you down, he succours you, And where you seek him, he is not.Robert Graves
Immeasurable at every hour: He first taught lovers how to kiss, He brings down sunshine after shower, Thunder and hate are his also, He is YES and he is NO.Robert Graves
Then speaking from his double head The glorious fearful monster said "I am YES and I am NO, Black as pitch and white as snow, Love me, hate me, reconcile Hate with love, perfect with vile, So equal justice shall be done And life shared between moon and sun. Nature for you shall curse or smile: A poet you shall be, my son."Robert Graves
Love, Fear and Hate and Childish Toys Are here discreetly blent; Admire, you ladies, read, you boys, My Country Sentiment.Robert Graves
In the middle of a lecture I would have a sudden very clear experience of men on the march up the Béthune–La Bassée road; the men would be singing... These daydreams persisted like an alternate life and did not leave me until well in 1928. The scenes were nearly always recollections of my first four months in France; the emotion-recording apparatus seems to have failed after Loos .Robert Graves
Faults in English prose derive not so much from lack of knowledge, intelligence or art as from lack of thought, patience or goodwill.Robert Graves
If there's no money in poetry, neither is there poetry in money.Robert Graves
A perfect poem is impossible. Once it had been written, the world would end.Robert Graves
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