Thursday, 28 July 2016

Alan Ross, Murmansk, and 'Leaves in the Storm'


  Murmansk  and Leaves in  the Storm


First of all,  greetings to all the new visitors to this blog. Delighted to see individuals logging in from different countries, with a particular high number from both Russia and the USA.

Secondly, can now be followed on Twitter : 

Finally, please remember the 'War at Sea Poetry'   Main website

Will start this entry with another poem by Alan Ross about the Allied  Arctic Convoys to the USSR in World War 2.



                      HMS York on Arctic Convoy escort duty March 1942- acknowledgement due to Wikipedia Commons


Murmansk

" The snow whisper of bows through water
Asking and answer in their lift
And screw, ceremonials
Of salt and savagery
Burial of man and mermaid

On those last ski slopes
Voices still murmur
Ciels de Murmansk, ceilings, sea-eels,
Water-skiers with lovely backs
Arched before breaking.

I remember the thirst of Murmansk
The great eyelids of water.
Can one ever see through them ? "



" Ciels de Murmansk  '(skies of Murmansk' in French), ceilings, sea-eels, " suggests the poet is using impressions and associations, could be an ironic song lyric.

But the first verse is far more striking, The Sea is an unbridled chaotic element swamping 'man and mermaid', overwhelming the sailors and their feeble mythical totems, like the sheer force of industrial warfare itself.

A difference between war poetry of World War 1 and World War 2 is that there is less comparison with a rural idyll in the latter. Men were fighting in the deserts of North Africa and on the Arctic coasts. There was a need to move fast , Nature was not represented by an idyllic passive countryside falling victim to War,  but as another foe that was trying to stop progress.  To be static meant becoming a target.  In Ross' case, the longer the convoys were afloat, the more likelihood of being bombed from the air, menaced by mines, torpedoes or  having to face enemy warships. There is no room to idealise the Sea that hampers a chance of reaching an environment that is less hostile such as the port of Murmansk,

Leaves in  the Storm 

Alan Ross wrote the following passage in prose form. Reminiscent of David Jones'  epic 'In Parenthesis' (1937 ) that evokes the writer's service at Mametz Wood, on the Somme in 1916. Here Ross draws on his Arctic Convoy experience :

" The destroyers attack, drawing the enemy fire. Four swords of flame flick into the greyness like a fencer's blows. World is a small narrowing circle, squeezed smaller and smaller, time has been interrupted, the clock smashed. Red-flecked, world is reduced to the gunsight's orb, its still centre, a focal  grey in a tilted world of sea and sky. It is too late to put the pieces together.

We are going in. Across our bows, suddenly, a welter of light, and expanding cone of sluiced sounds. Again and a shiver of steel. A moment of time displaced, the revolving bands interrupted. You didn't put the pieces together quickly enough. A storm of unleashed sound, shaken in a bowl of electric enclosure, a rainbow of light rocketing through the wrecked space, waves of explosion dancing in narrowing circles, within the eyes; and like a long snake unwinding, steam hissing out in a stream over everything."

Quote from page 179 of  'Leaves in the Storm'-a book of diaries edited with a running commentary by Stefan Schminski and Henry Treece  : 1947 anthology featuring Alan Lewis, Gertrude Stein, Stephen Spender,Henry Miller, amongst others. )

The way that both natural forces  such as 'a storm' , 'a rainbow' , 'waves' are integrated into an account of mechanised warfare at sea is most impressive. Even the rainbow, usually counted as representing natural beauty, becomes part of this battle narrative. Warfare and Nature are not separate but co-conspirators in causing mayhem.

The modernist idea of reporting , by writing in the present tense, draws the reader in an immediate fashion. A superb piece of war writing indeed.

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Thursday, 7 July 2016

More about Alan Ross



                              Arctic Waking -Alan Ross 



'HMS Glorious' by Eric Ravillious -courtesy of the Imperial War Museum (Art.IWM ART LD 283 )


Arctic Waking

Sky like a dog rose draws blood,
The tide mirrors my sailed love,
Through clouds of sea foamed green;
The white gull fastens on the skyline.

Foam-flecked the mooned wake curves,
an ocean grown white with roses,
Recessions of suns draw tides, coppering
The sea's back, the scalloped hair of mermaids.

Shells bear retentive music through husks
Of night; my love's hair floats green, like
Some Ophelia's cold and wild the flowers
Of her eyes scattered under black water.

The free gull moves across white horses.
The dream grows dry with frozen thirst.
As dawn, the convoy alters course;
The sun comes up and slowly bursts.

---------------------

Alan Ross ( 1922- 2001) served in the Royal Navy during World War 2, including a spell on the Arctic convoys. A newspaper columnist, travel writer, member of naval intelligence, ardent cricket fan, editor of ' London Magazine' Ross 'first book of poems The Derelict Day ( 1947)  concerned Germany immediately  after World War 2,  an anthology Something of the Sea followed in 1954 -though only a third of the poems relate to the sea, and  a number of them were reproduced in a subsequent  collection Open Sea (1978).  The poem 'Survivors' has already been covered by a blog entry from September 2015  and 'Arctic Waking' is also from Something ...

Particularly like way this poem weaves from the credible ' Through clouds of sea foamed green'  through to the unreal ' An ocean grown white with roses' . Also the folksy ballad lyric referencing   'my sailed love' and 'my love's hair'  along with an almost schoolboy interest in Ophelia , the drowned lover in stagnant water most famous from the Pre-Raphaelite painting by Sir John Everett Millais ( completed in 1852)  displaced into a northern sea is peculiar . The notion that its the sun rather than the moon 'drawing tides'  ...well the impressions seem to be tumbling. Then the enchantment of the night is broken by the convoy altering its course at dawn, confronting an exploding sun.

I chose this poem because its slightly surreal. But also because from a historical point of view it tells us nothing about the nature of war. By contrast Alan Ross could write poems that are far more specific, such as the epic  'J.W.51B A Convoy' , with lines such as

'Courses crossing, like lines on a hand,
Darkness disintergrating, and throwing up
Into the net of the morning, life fish,
A stranded sea of vessels, ignorantly
Approaching, British and German '.


Yet, it's important to break the habit of somehow grading war poetry on the basis of what it tells us about war. 'Arctic Waking'  arguably records the jumbled impressions of a young well educated man under pressure, whose still learning his craft as a poet.  Perhaps the proverbial 'baptism of fire' , and a sense of the exploding sun wrecking everything else is evoked at the end of the poem. Perhaps not.

The title of Something of the Sea is taken from a poem -'Loves Still Has Something of the Sea' by Sir Charles Sedley , a Restoration poet, playwright and disgraceful drunk,

'Love still has something of the sea,
From whence his Mother rose'



                                          Alan Ross- taken from 'Google Images' 


Love still has something of the Sea-Sir Charles Sedley (1639 -1701) 

Love still has something of the sea, 
From whence his Mother rose;
No time his slaves from doubt can free,
Nor give their thoughts repose.

They are becalm'd in clearest days,
And in rough weather tost;
They wither under cold delays,
Or are in tempests lost.

One while they seem to touch the port,
Then straight into the main
Some angry wind in cruel sport
Their vessel drives again.

At first disdain and pride they fear,
Which, if they chance to 'scape,
Rivals and falsehood soon appear
In a more dreadful shape.

By such degrees to joy they come,
And are so long withstood,
So slowly they receive the sum,
It hardly does them good.

'Tis cruel to prolong a pain;
And to defer a joy,
Believe me, gentle Celemene,
Offends the winged boy.

An hundred thousand oaths your fears
Perhaps would not remove,
And if I gaz'd a thousand years,
I could no deeper love. 

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Sunday, 29 May 2016


                         Jutland Centenary 1916- 2016 


                                   Remembering all those who died at the Battle of Jutland/Skaggerakslacht
                                   31st May/1st June 1916.





YEARS AHEAD:

YEARS ahead, years ahead,
Who shall honour our sailor-dead ?
For the wild North Sea, the bleak North Sea,
Threshes and seethes so endlessly.
Gathering foam and changing crest
Heave and hurry, and know no rest :
How can they mark our sailor-dead
In the years ahead ?
Time goes by, time goes by,

And who shall tell where our soldiers lie ?
The guiding trench-cut winds afar,
Miles upon miles where the dead men are;
A cross of wood, or a carven block,
A name-disc hung on a rifle-stock
These shall tell where our soldiers lie
As the time goes by.

Days to come, days to come
But who shall ask of the wandering foam,
The weaving weed, or the rocking swell,
The place of our sailor-dead to tell ?
From Jutland reefs to Scapa Flow
Tracks of the wary warships go,
But the deep sea-wastes lie green and dumb
All the days to come.

Years ahead, years ahead,
The sea shall honour our sailor-dead !
No mound of mouldering earth shall show
The fighting place of the men below,
But a swirl of seas that gather and spill;
And the wind's wild chanty whistling shrill
Shall cry " Consider my sailor-dead! "
In the years ahead.

GUY N. POCOCK.

(From Page 100 of 'Modern Poetry' edited by Guy N. Pocock . (1920) )

Have quoted from this poem before but it seems so appropriate. And today 'our sailor dead' should refer to the men who fought on both sides. And in the spirit of reconciliation, both between peoples and nations, and the different aspects of sea poetry, will quote from Heinrich Heine (13th  December 1797- 17th February 1856) .

I hail thee, O Sea, thou Ancient of Days!
Like speech of my homestead murmurs thy water,
Like dreams of my childhood shimmer before me
The heaving leagues of thy billowy realm,
As Memory, the grey-beard, remurmurs his stories
Of all those dear magnificent playthings,
Of all those glittering Christmas-presents,
Of all those branchy red trees of coral,
Gold-fishes, pearls, and shimmering sea-shells,
Which thou mysteriously dost guard
Down there in thy lucid crystal house.


From 'The North Sea- Second Cycle', translated by John Todhunter , from the superb 'All Poetry' website.

Here the sea is cited as a powerful but enchanting element. An association with war wouldn't necessarily have been made by a 19th century romantic such as Heine : The notion that the North Sea was a potential background was to re-emerge during the Great War.

Permission had been sought to us the picture at the top of the post , The 'Battle of Jutland May 31st 1916  Christmas Card' by Bernard Gribble , as not clear if it's in the public domain .


UPDATES

The original intention of the Great War at Sea Poetry Project was to have an anthology of such poems published to commemorate the centenary of Jutland. This  has not quite happened. But in the last two years the Blog and Website nevertheless have made a contribution to generating interest in lesser known war poetry and I wish to thank all supporters of the blog and website.

The remit of the Project will now extend to cover War at Sea Poetry generally.

The main Great War at Sea Poetry Project website has now been updated : A new webpage has been added featuring World War 2 serving poet Charles Causley's Jutland poem 'Ballad of John Cornwell'
Jack Cornwell

Previous webpage on the battle from 2014
 Jutland


The Great War at Sea Poetry Project is now on Twitter :

MichaelBully @waratseapoetry1









Thursday, 28 April 2016

Remembering the Fishermen who served during the Great War

             Fishermen Against the Kaiser  Shockwaves of War- 1914- 1915 


                                     


Was grateful to hear Saltdean based historian Douglas d'Enno talk about his 2010 book 'Fishermen Against the Kaiser-Shockwaves of War 1914- 1918  -Volume 1'  ( 'Pen and Sword', 2010)




A fascinating work indeed. A vital contribution to understanding the Great War at Sea. The focus is on 1914-1915 with a second volume still to be published.The writer’s extensive use of source material, with clear cross referencing, is admirable.

Douglas d'Enno's case is that the outbreak of war took fishing fleets on both sides by surprise,though soon they would be seizing each other's boats. Also that the Royal Navy was at first quite suspicious of fishermen.
Initially there was a concern that fishing boats and their nets could get in the way of Royal Navy activity. Moreover, lack of fishing boat activity in certain stretches of water would highlight minefields’ location to the enemy. On 25th August 1914 whole swathes of the English Channel and the North Sea were closed to the fishermen. And the market was in danger of stagnation.

Yet fishermen were soon involved in the war. Large numbers joined the Royal Navy Reserves. Others assisted in evacuating Belgian refugees. And significantly

“During the war no fewer than 1,455 trawlers, 1372 steamdrifters, and 118 motor drifters were pressed into naval service. Nor should the humble smack be forgotten, for a number were assigned to special duties-.....” ( page 41) Admiral Beresford is given the credit for realising the potential of the fishermen in the war effort.

And for those who remained at sea, life became increasingly dangerous. For example at the end of August 1915, the Boston fishing fleet, accompanied by some vessels from Grimsby, encountered German warships. Fifteen ships were sunk and the men were taken as prisoners of war.

Fishermen seemed particularly useful on board minesweepers. They served in the Dardanelles just before the Gallipoli landings and in the Adriatic, also on a sortie to Zeebrugge on 23rd August 1915.

Former fishermen performed courageous acts rescuing survivors of U boat shelling such as when the U9 torpedoed three battle cruisers, or during the Lusitania sinking, amongst others. But there were also times that the fishermen would not always succumb to naval discipline with examples of insubordination and unruly behaviour being reported. But overall this writer honours fishermen who lost their lives on account of the war, and how quickly they adapted to serve.

A further strength of this book is that it covers other lesser known issues such as the use of Crystal Palace as a naval training ground, inflation during World War 1, the wretched plight of fishermen captured by the Germans, the number of Scottish women who moved to East Anglia to work for the fisheries.

Looking forward to Volume 2.

The writer includes extracts from lesser known poetry at the start of each chapter; Contemporary work from 'Punch', Alice Brooks,  Geoffrey Dreamer, along with  World War 2 poet Michael Thwaite. Dreamer's work has been covered elsewhere on this blog ; however was previously  unaware of Joseph Powell's poem 'Night at Ruhleben' .  Ruhleben was a German camp housing  a large number of interned British citizens and captured British sailors. Joseph Powell was elected as camp captain.


It's also helpful to be reminded of the work of naval historians from the 1920's who are overlooked now such as E.Keble-Chatterton and Lowell Thomas. From reading 'Fishermen Against the Kaiser' , got to learn about 1918 work titled ' Fishermen in War Time'  by Walter Wood.
Now available on line
Fishermen in war time -text

As a tribute to the fishermen who served during the Great War ,felt appropriate to post an extract from a poem by one 'H. Ingamells' titled 'The Minesweepers ' which first appeared in an anthology 'These were the men poems of the war 1914- 1918 ' (from 1919), also cited by Douglas d'Enno .

Starts on page 81 Text-These were the men



Little they care, come wind or wave, 
The men of Grimsby Town, 
There are mines to destroy, and lives to save, 
And they take the risk, these sailormen brave, 
With a laugh and a joke, or a rollicking stave, 
As the gear goes plunging down. 

Honour the trawler's crew, 
For fear they never knew ! 
Now on their quest they go 
With measured tack and slow 
Seeking the hidden fate 
Strewn with a devilish hate. 

Death may come in a terrible form, 
Death in a calm or death in a storm, 
Death without warning, stark and grim, 
Death with a tearing of limb from limb, 
Death in a horrible, hideous guise : 
Such is the mine-sweeper's sacrifice ! 
Careless of terrors and scornful of ease, 
Stolid and steadfast, they sweep the seas. 

Cheerfully, simply, fearlessly, 

The men of Grimsby Town, 
Do their bit on the rolling sea 
The storm-swept, treacherous, grey North Sea 
Doing their duty unflinchingly, 
Keeping the death rate down. 






Saturday, 26 March 2016

Latest Easter 2016

                                                                   Some updates 




                                     Above image is the memorial to SS Mendi at Delville Wood 


The SS Mendi

The Great War at Sea Poetry Website has a new page about the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi on the 21st February 1917.

SS Mendi Webpage


Some events for the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.


                From the Royal Navy website :

Royal Navy to mark Jutland anniversary with parade and ceremony at Southsea
17/03/2016
The Royal Navy will be marking the 100th anniversary of The Battle of Jutland with a parade and ceremony at Southsea.

More than 100 sailors will march through the town – led by the Royal Marines Band Collingwood – to Southsea Common war memorial where a 45-minute ceremony and service will take place on May 31.

About 50 veterans from the Royal British Legion and Royal Naval Association will also join the parade.

Members of the public are being encouraged to line the route from Palmerston Road, along Avenue De Caen and the Esplanade."

Jutland Parade-link


                 The maritime charity 'Seafarers UK'  are organising a fundraising  concert at The Barbican, London , 15th June 2016, "To commemorate the Centenary of the Battle of Jutland and the lives of all those who died at sea during the Great War"
Vaughn Williams First Symphony will be performed by the London Concert  Choir , singers include Katherine Broderick and Roderick Williams.
Jutland Concert-link


                   The Royal Naval Museum at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard open the exhibition '36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle that won the war'  on 12th May 2016. Described as a 'blockbuster' : Stating
                 
                  Through never-before-seen displays and immersive  (sic) galleries the exhibition will challenge the belief that the Battle of Jutland was a German victory. The National Museum of the Royal Navy will present the battle as a British victory, both tactically and strategically.
Exhibition: 36 hours -link


                                                           World War II Poetry 


After the Jutland Centenary the Great War at Sea Poetry blog and website will both start to feature general war at sea poetry from any conflict that is deemed to be of interest.

Have recently started looking at an anthology titled 'More Poems from the Forces- A Collection of Verses By serving members of the Navy, Army, and Air Force' edited by Keidrich Rhys ( George Routledge & Sons Ltd., London, 1943- "This Volume is dedicated to the U.S.S.R." )

Some excellent poetry therein, such as 'The Green Navies' by one John Prichard, described as 'Leading Writer, R.N. '

                        'The Green Navies

"O Christ! to think of the green navies and the green-
skulled crews" -Herman Melville 


By Capricorn seas and typhoon
Or Stove hatch death sands their eyes
With a quick salt end,
A watch below in their sea-bed schools.
Only Mother Carey's chickens
See them go; squawk and scavenge

Davey Jones's crews: in two tides
A squid has their blood and magpie
Fish have cached their jewel eyes;
A crab hermits in the empty skull
And big-sea brooms polish their ribs.

Their souls inhabit rats; their flesh
Fell in a hundred ports; speech
Was broadcast in lost winds.
Only a seaman moonraking over
The wall, pipes the green navies;
Can see a coral cross of bones. "



















Friday, 26 February 2016

Riding Seaward on the Wave





              T.S.Eliot, War at Sea and 'public spiritedness '

                                  

                                                                    Image of T.S. Eliot created by Simon Fieldhouse                

 Returning to sea poetry published during the Great War, but seemingly  to have no connection to the conflict: Realised that I had previously overlooked the closing lines of T.S.Eliot's ‘Love Song of J.Arthur Prufrock ‘ published initially  in ‘Poetry’ magazine June 1915, and republished in ‘Prufrock and other Observations ‘ (1917- dedicated to Jean Verdenal , French poet and friend to Eliot who was killed in action at Gallipoli ).

The poem was written in 1911,whilst Eliot was in Munich. Famous for its portrayal of a male sliding into middle age.


I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.


I do not think that they will sing to me.


I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.




Found an interesting observation from George Orwell's essay 'Inside The Whale', citing how E.M.Forster recalled that in 1917, he was heartened to read such work as 'Prufrock which was 'innocent of public spiritedness' . The angst of a middle aged man realising that he was balding and that girls were no longer looking at him seemed to be a strange poem to want to have published in 1917. As well as being' innocent of public spiritedness', to appropriate E.M. Forster's term, there is no attempt to use a poem to convey what Wilfred Owen would call 'the pity of war'. 'Prufrock' emphasises mundane concerns when the mood of the time had shifted onto a war footing.


Yet Eliot also was displaying an indifference towards the Sea. There is a disconnection between the Mr. Prufrock and the mermaids who will not sing to him. And worth comparing with  Lord Byron's lavish lines in Canto IV verse 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage'

" And I have loved thee, Ocean! and jy joy
Of youthful sports was on they breast to be
Borne, like they bubbles, onwards, from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers- they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror-'twas a pleasing fear ".......

Byron displayed a communion of all his senses with the sea, Mr. Prufrock is a polar opposite in being so detached and the poem is a remarkable  example of understatement.


 A  little known connection between T.S.Eliot and 'Great War at Sea Poetry ' appears in his collected letters. with a reference to 'My War poem, for the $100 prize'.

" UP BOYS AND AT ‘EM!

Now while our heroes at sea

They pass’d a German warship,

The captain pac’d the quarterdeck
Parading in his corset
What ho! they cry’d, we’ll sink your ship!
And so they up and sink’d her.
But the cabin boy was sav’d alive
And bugger’d, in the sphincter.

Letter to Conrad Aitken,  30th September 1914
‘The Letters of T.S. Eliot’ Volume 1 1892-1922  1988
Volume 1: 1898-1922 / revised Edition, edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton









Sunday, 7 February 2016

Vita Sackville -West Sea Poem


                             'The Sailing Ships' ...Vita Sackville-West 



Above picture is of Vita Sackville- West in 1918, by William Strang. in public domain, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Recently came across the notion of 'combat gnosticism' - can someone who has never experienced  being under fire really be in a position to write war poetry? Not sure where the term originated but certainly has come to prominence again a few years ago via an article by one  James Campbell titled  ‘Combat Gnosticism: The Ideology of First World War Poetry Criticism'.

 But if the human imagination is skilled enough, the poet can get to a dimension where they can channel the impression of someone else's experience ? My first response was 'yes' ! Seems to be a unique contention for war poetry. I mean how many people would seriously dismiss Shelley's 'Mask of Anarchy'  on the basis that the poet wasn't actually present at the Peterloo Massacre. But Shelley was commenting on what he viewed as an outrage, rather than trying to convey the experience of being part of a panic stricken crowd being faced with charging dragoons, so perhaps not a good parallel .

Was pondering said point again when looking at Vita Sackville -West' s poem 'The Sailing Ships', which appeared in the fifth and  final Georgian Poetry anthology 1920-1922.I am trying to establish when the poem was written. Looking at the acknowledgements in the Georgian Poetry anthology, looks like 'The Sailing Ships' first appeared in Vita Sackville-West's collection 'Orchards and Vineyards' (1921).

The poem opens

" Lying on Downs above the wrinkling bay
I with the kestrels shared the cleanly day " 


The narrator seems to be in some enchanted dream state, watching 'lovely ships' seemingly gliding through the Channel. There's a delightful couplet or two.

" The porpoise's slow wheel to break the sheen
Of satin water indolently green " 


The focus then moves on to a make believe voyage, away from The drowsy Channel scene. Of course sailing ships themselves would be quite archaic by the time the poem was published. There are references to 

" When headlands into ken
Trod grandly; threatened; and were lost again,
Old fangs along the battlemented coast;" 


The ship then travels to a range of places , 'Thessaly', 'desert verge below a sunset bar'  along with 'tropic estuaries. The image of the sailing ship recedes; another boat must be making such long journeys. But the vessel turns homeward ready to have its cargo examined by 'London clerks with paperclips'.

The poem then abruptly transforms in its last verse:

 " Clerks that had never seen the embattled sea,
But wrote down jettison and barratry,
Perils, Adventures, and the Act of God,
Having no vision of such wrath flung broad;
Wrote down with weary and accustomed pen
The classic dangers of sea-faring men;
And wrote 'Restraint of Princes,' and 'the Acts
Of the King's Enemies,' as vacant facts,
Blind to the ambushed seas, the encircling roar
Of angry nations foaming into war. " 


The Summer idyll of the Downs , the hazards of a sea odyssey, the theme of sailors v. 'landlubbers' suddenly swerve to an awareness of the sea as being 'ambushed' , it's no longer the sailors that are in danger from the sea, the sea is now passive whilst the 'angry nations (are) foaming'.

The clerks seem detached from the reality of war just as much as the perils of the seas. Recording losses due to enemy action as 'vacant' facts. Furthermore, 'Barratery' , civic litigation , can not compare with 'Angry nations foaming into war'.

 Perhaps this is where poetry has a role. One  hundred years later we need media that tries to convey impressions of experience, to stop us appearing as detached as the 'London clerks with their paper-clips'. Yet are said 'clerks' going to be derided for being indifferent to conflict at sea but also chided if they tried to write creatively  as if they somehow understood the gap, maybe a chasm, that exists between their life and those who directly experience combat?  Personally I think that the human imagination should be used to try to interpret experience other to our own even though this may antagonise those who have a more authentic claim.

Links


Sailing ships -text

Note 

Combat Gnosticism 

 'the belief that combat represents a qualitatively separate order of existence that is difficult if not impossible to communicate to any who have not undergone an identical experience'

Have lifted James Campbell's definition from Professor Tim Kendall's 'War Poetry'  blog entry from 2009.

Combat Gnosticism-article