The joke’s on me: Robert Graves #poets #onthisday

Check out my blog of 24th July 2015: Dead or Alive? Rescued by poetry.

In brief it states that on Robert Graves‘ 21st birthday (24th July 1895) he opened The Times newspaper only to read his own obituary.  

He had been pierced through the chest and groin by shrapnel at the Somme in July 1916 and was written off by the battalion doctor has having “no chance.”

However it was on this day, 5th August 1916 (12 days later) The Times made good their mistake, announcing Graves had actually survived.

Thankfully, out of this ‘grave’ incident (pardon the pun!) he claimed, “the joke contributed greatly to my recovery. The people with whom I had been on the worst terms (with) during my life wrote the most enthusiastic condolences to my parents.”

Sometimes we may forget that previous generations also had a sense of humour as well as being both adored by some and despised by others. That’s life.

Here’s Graves’ poetry whilst in buoyant spirits…

‘Why have such scores of lovely, gifted girls

Married impossible men?

Simple self-sacrifice may be ruled out, 

And missionary endeavour, nine times out of ten.’

Has God’s supply of tolerable husbands 

Fallen, in fact, so low?

Or do I always over-value woman

At the expense of man?

Do I?

It might be so.’
from ‘A Slice of Wedding Cake’

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