A Hell of a War: Verses.
Category: First World War
Stoke Newington Privately Published.
Privately printed edition; 8vo; original half leather binding; marbled end papers; 72pp, three page introduction, 60 poems in total. Photograph of the author pasted to the front free end paper, with his inscription beneath. The poems chronicle his war. In the introduction he sets out an apology for the verses, explaining that they never aspired to become poetry and that they were written in barracks, barns, stables, trenches, dug-outs, bivouacs and rest camps, under all inconvenience and weariness. Also in the introduction he describes some of the horrors he witnessed and states that it would require a realistic genius to describe them. "In such circumstances one is fortunate if he be of a temperament that can experience the very real sovereignty of the mind over material conditions. To see the 'inward eye', to be able, even partially, to ignore such an environment, and live in a world of thought and imagination, is to have conquered most of its terrors." Trewin through his verses chronicles his war service from Grantully Castle (a diversionary attack in the Mediterranean timed to coincide with the Gallipoli landings) through to Armistice Day. The war took him to Gibraltar, Rouen, Fromells, Arras (where he was wounded). The poems themselves convey the ever day life of a soldier, the rain, the drills, the NCO's, the waiting and his war as a Scout in the "Suicide Club". "Ten months of winter snows and summer sun Have laid their kindly hands upon this wreck. The grass is green, wild flowers and thistles thrive; And here the poppies bloom a deeper red, To hide and heal the shell-scarred face of earth. Silent and soft and slow, the mother hand Of Nature clothes the naked wreck and ruin:Here from corruption Beauty shall arise, And all the shell-wrecked, gas-bleached face of earth, Shall garb in Beauty, and return to Peace." Vimy Ridge Summer 1916. Trewin was a private and I have been able to trace his war record, although I am sure with further research this could be established. I have been unable to trace any other copies of this book. Very good, spine faded and wear to extremities; one page working loose.