James Elroy Flecker Poems

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James Elroy Flecker
James Elroy Flecker (November 5, 1884- January 3, 1915) was an English poet, novelist and playwright. As a poet he was most influenced by the Parnassian poets. He was born in London, and educated at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, where his father was headmaster, and Uppingham School. He studied at Trinity College, Oxford, and Caius College, Cambridge. While at Oxford he was greatly influenced by the last flowering of the Aesthetic movement there, under John Addington Symonds. From 1910 he was in the consular service, in the Eastern Mediterranean. He met Helle Skiadaressi on a ship to Athens, and married her in 1911. His most widely known poem is "To a poet a thousand years hence". The most enduring testimony to his work is perhaps an excerpt from "The Golden Journey to Samarkand" inscribed on the clock tower of the barracks of the British Army's 22nd Special Air Service regiment in Hereford. He died of tuberculosis in Davos, Switzerland. His poem "The Bridge of Fire" is featured in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, in the volume The Wake. A quatrain from his poem "To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence" is quoted by Jorge Luis Borges in his essay "Note on Walt Whitman" (to be found in the collection Other Inquisitions, 1937-1952): O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,// student of our sweet English tongue,// read out my words at night, alone:// I was a poet, I was young.

Smile then, children, hand in hand
Bright and white as the summer snow,
Or that young King... [read poem]
war song of the saracens
We are they who come faster than fate: we are they who ride early or late:
We storm at your ivo... [read poem]
Uninvited, the thought of you stayed too late in my head,
so I went to bed, dreaming you hard, ... [read poem]
Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head... [read poem]
Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown ... [read poem]
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