Lamplight

“When the world slips slow to darkness, when the office fire burns lower,
My heart goes out to Rouen, Rouen all the world away;
When other men remember, I remember our Adventure
And the trains that go from Rouen at the ending of the day.”
May Wedderburn Cannan

They call her the forgotten female poet of World War I. She became a nurse at the age of 18 and eventually reached the rank of quartermaster. She wrote three volumes of poetry between 1917-1923 and then published nothing until the end of her life, when she wrote her memoir, Grey Ghosts and Voices. It was published in 1976, three years after her death.

Her fiancé, Lieutenant Bevil Brian Quiller-Couch, survived wounds that earned him a citation for courage, only to die in one of the worst catastrophes in human history, the influenza pandemic of 1919 that killed between 20 and 40 million people.

We planned to shake the world together, you and I.
Being young, and very wise;
Now in the light of the green shaded lamp
Almost I see your eyes
Light with the old gay laughter; you and I
Dreamed greatly of an Empire in those days,
Setting our feet upon laborious ways,
And all you asked of fame
Was crossed swords in the Army List;
My Dear, against your name

May Wedderburn Cannan

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