The Breakage by Glyn Maxwell

The Breakage

Glyn Maxwell

The poems that speak clearest to me in this collection are those that link the past to the present, especially those that make connections between the First World War and present day Britain. In 'My Grandfather at the Pool' and 'Letters to Edward Thomas' Glyn Maxwell reveals personal and moving ties with the dead.


Five pals in Liverpool about to swim.
The only one who looks away is him.

The other four look steadily across
The water and the joke they share to us.

Wholly and coldly gone, they meet our eyes
Like stars the eye is told are there and tries

To see - all pity flashes back from there,
Till I too am the unnamed unaware

And things are stacked ahead of us so vast
I sun myself in shadows that they cast:

Things I dreamed but never dreamed were there,
But are and may by now be everywhere,

When you're what turns the page or looks away.
When I'm what disappears into my day.

from My Grandfather at the Pool

  • Rest for the Wicked by Glyn Maxwell
  • Selected Poems by Edward Thomas
  • Zoom by Simon Armitage