Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Joan E. Bauer: On the Brink, 1938

A happy vicar I might have been…

-George Orwell

 

On the Spanish battlefield, he would crawl

on his stomach searching for potatoes.

 

The POUM (Marxist Workers’ Party) made him

an officer & that first night he gained his men’s

 

respect by drinking them under the table.

Later what his men remembered:

 

a straightforward, unaffected man, despite

the Eton accent, who feared rats, not bullets.

*

 

What gave respite in that happy year after Spain,

that year in Wallington: his wife Eileen, his son

 

& gardening. Digging, planting, tending hens & goats.

He’d milk Muriel the cow & take the poodle Marx

 

for walks. After the Hitler-Stalin pact, he tried

to enlist, but the British army wouldn’t take him.

 

His neck, shot through by sniper fire, had healed,

but he’d been six months in a TB sanitarium.

 

No recording survives of his flat & damaged voice.

Writing Homage to Catalonia, he worried

 

he’d be misunderstood. Even his mother was

puzzled by his books. This is not the Eric we knew.

.


Copyright 2017 Joan E. Bauer

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Joan E. Bauer (photo:Ruth Ella Hendricks)

2 comments on “Joan E. Bauer: On the Brink, 1938

  1. johnlawsonpoet
    January 23, 2017

    Glad to see that Joan shares my appreciation for Orwell. Homage to Catalonia and Down and Out in Paris and London: if you haven’t read them, you should.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charlie Brice
    January 23, 2017

    Dear Joan: a tremendous poem, as usual. Here’s a posting I put on FB about it. Hi Everyone,
    There are authors who write historical novels, but it’s rare to find a poet who writes historical poems and yet we have such a poet in Joan E. Bauer. Every time I read a poem of Joan’s I not only learn something, but am treated to an historical tale written with the eloquence and lyricism of a formidable poetic genius. Here is such a poem about George Orwell that appeared on the wonderful internet site Vox Populi recently. Enjoy:

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on January 23, 2017 by in Poetry, Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , , , .
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