Brooke

January 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Brooke

A4

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Rupert Brooke – The Soldier, 1914

The first five lines of Rupert Brooke’s ‘The Soldier’ written 350 times each, once for each British soldier killed in Afghanistan up to the 28/01/2011. Brooke’s poetry glorified nationalism and empire, nowadays with hindsight it seems absurd, I wanted to match this absurdity of language with form, repeating the lines of poetry until they became useless shapes without meaning or potency.

(Update: 03/03/2011) Sold.

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