Charles Causley

1917-2003

'Poet'

 

Charles Causley is buried next to his mother's grave in the St. Thomas Churchyard, Launceston, Cornwall. (Barely 100 yards from where he was born). (See map...ref no. 2)

Charles Causley's Grave (Photo by Paul Howlett)

Causley, an only child, lived and worked for most of his life in Cornwall.  His father, a groom and gardener, died when he was 7 years old from wounds sustained in the First World War. (Causley wrote a number of tender and observant poems about his parents - see Eden Rock below.)

Between 1940 -1946 he served in the Royal Navy  - during which time he started to write poetry. After the war he secured a job as a primary school teacher, a career which he pursued for the rest of his life.

Causley's empathy with children enabled him to compose imaginative stories and poetry for them.

St. Thomas Church, Launceston

The bulk of his poetry is characterised by a simple, powerful style which appealed to a wide audience. However, through out his long career as a poet, he remained resolutely untrendy.

He was influenced by folk songs, hymns and ballads - possibly as a result of having  played the piano as a young man in dance band. His work was also influenced by John Clare.

Both Philip Larkin and John Betjeman were admirers of his work. In fact, one of Larkin's final poems Dear Charles, My Muse asleep or dead  is directly addressed to him. After Betjeman's death many British poets were in favour of him becoming the next Poet Laureate.

Causley's poetry collections include Farewell Aggie Weston (1951), Survivor's Leave (1953), Underneath the Water (1968) and Figgie Hobbin (1970).

Death of a Poet, Chief Petty Officer,  Convoy, At The British War Cemetery, Bayeux, and  Recruiting Drive are some of his most popular poems.

He was awarded a CBE in 1986 for services to poetry.

They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden Rock:
My father, twenty-five, in the same suit
Of genuine Irish Tweed, his terrier Jack
Still two years old and trembling at his feet.
 
My mother, twenty-three, in a sprigged dress
Drawn at the waist, ribbon in her straw hat,
Has spread the stiff white cloth over the grass.
Her hair, the colour of wheat, takes on the light.

from Eden Rock

Dana Gioia's Causley Page

Click here to buy poetry by Charles Causley

 

 


 

 

 
 
 
 

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