Vox Populi

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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





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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