Monday, September 21, 2009

The Animated Poem and Ivor Gurney

A litttle 7-minute film produced in 2006 at Saint-Lukas, Brussels, school of arts, as part of the graphic design course, animating  "Of Death", a poem by Ivor Gurney, English composer and war poet who spent the last 15 years of his life in mental hospitals.  He died in 1937 at the age of 47, of tuberculosis.

Ivor Gurney wrote over 100 poems and 300 songs. Some of his letters and poems were written in the trenches of World War I.

Gurney loved to walk, and spent countless hours walking the streets of his city. He had been a night walker since age sixteen. "One comes across the strangest things in walks" he writes in the opening line of his poem "Encounters". An excerpt:

Sheets spread out spotless against the hazel tree.
But toothless old men, bubbling over with jokes
And deadly serious once the speaking finished.
Beauty is less after all than strange comical folks
And the wonder of them never and never can become diminished. 


Little note:  I had never heard of Ivor Gurney before today.  I was googling information on walking, as a form of exercise, which led me to a site that mentioned Gurney's love of walking.  Gurney, the "madman war-time poet", it said--which on further searching led me to the little video posted at the top.  How poetry comes to us sometimes, when we're not even looking for it!

I have looked everywhere and cannot find the text for the Ivor Gurney poem recited in the above video, "Of Death".

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