Alun Lewis

Welsh poet

Alun Lewis (1 July 19155 March 1944) was a Welsh poet and short-story writer, often seen as one of Britain's finest Second World War poets.


  • And we talked of girls, and dropping bombs on Rome,
    And thought of the quiet dead and the loud celebrities
    Exhorting us to slaughter.
    • "All Day It Has Rained", line 17, from Raider's Dawn and Other Poems (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1942) p. 16.
  • I am more and more engrossed with the single poetic theme of Life and Death, for there doesn't seem to be any question more directly relevant than this one of what survives of all the beloved.
    • Letter written in 1943; cited from Jeremy Hooker and Gweno Lewis (eds.) Selected Poems of Alun Lewis (London: Unwin, 1987) p. 108.

Ha! Ha! Among the Trumpets (1945)Edit

Quotations are cited from the 1st edition (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945).

  • So we must say Goodbye, my darling,
    And go, as lovers go, for ever;
    Tonight remains, to pack and fix on labels
    And make an end of lying down together.
    • "Goodbye", line 1; p. 24.
  • All this slowness, all this hardness,
    The nearness that is waiting in my bed,
    The gradual self-effacement of the dead.
    • "The First Month of His Absence", line 33; p. 35.
  • Who is it climbs the summit of the road?
    Only the beggar bumming his dark load.
    Who was it cried to see the falling star?
    Only the landless soldier lost in war.
    And did a thousand years go by in vain?
    And does another thousand start again?
    • "The Mahratta Ghats", line 22; p. 44.


  • It is only when death releases the true poet from the embarrassing condition of being at once immortal and alive in the flesh that the people are prepared to honour him; and his spirit as it passes is saluted by a spontaneous display of public emotion. This explains the heavy black headlines in the Press of March 1944: ALUN LEWIS THE POET IS DEAD. Search the back-files and you will find no preparatory announcement: ALUN LEWIS WRITES GREAT POETRY.
    • Robert Graves, Ha! Ha! Among the Trumpets (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1945) p. 7.
  • He was a poet of great power, who described the loneliness of military life in the early Forties with unique eloquence and accuracy; he wrote, too, exciting and original love poetry.

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