About this poet

Winifred M. Letts was a novelist, playwright, and poet. Born in England in 1882, she moved to Ireland as a young woman. Her collections include More Songs from Leinster (John Murray, 1926), The Spires of Oxford and Other Poems (E. P. Dutton and Company, 1918), Hallow-e’en and Poems of the War (John Murray, 1916), and Songs from Leinster (John Murray, 1913). Letts, who served as a masseuse in army camps during World War I, famously wrote about her experiences during the war, as well as the joys of rural life in Ireland. She died in 1972.

Dead

In misty cerements they wrapped the word
My heart had feared so long: dead... dead... I heard
But marvelled they could think the thing was true
Because death cannot be for such as you.
So while they spoke kind words to suit my need
Of foolish idle things my heart took heed,
Your racquet and worn-out tennis shoe,
Your pipe upon the mantel,—then a bird
Upon the wind-tossed larch began to sing
And I remembered how one day in Spring
You found the wren’s nest in the wall and said
“Hush!... listen! I can hear them quarrelling...”
The tennis court is marked, the wrens are fled,
But you are dead, beloved, you are dead

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Winifred M. Letts

Winifred M. Letts was a novelist, playwright, and poet who famously wrote about her experiences during World War I. Her collections include More Songs from Leinster (John Murray, 1926), and The Spires of Oxford and Other Poems (E. P. Dutton and Company, 1918). She died in 1972.

by this poet

poem
When I can dare at last to speak your name
It shall not be with hushed and reverent speech
As if your spirit were beyond the reach
Of homely merry things, kind jest or game.
Death shall not hide you in some jewelled shrine
Nor set you in marmoreal pomp apart,
You who still share the ingle of my heart,
Participant
poem

Courage came to you with your boyhood's grace
     Of ardent life and limb.
Each day new dangers steeled you to the test,
     To ride, to climb, to swim.
Your hot blood taught you carelessness of death
          With every breath.

So when you went to play another game
    

poem
I dreamt—before death made such dreaming vain—
That sometime, on a day of wind and rain,
I would come home to you at fall of night
And see your window flushed with firelight.
There in the chill dark lonesomeness I’d wait
A moment, standing at the garden gate
Scarce trusting that my happiness was true,—
The kind