T. E. HULME: The Embankment

Hulme was killed on the Front in Flanders in 1917, four days after his thirty-fourth birthday. 

“The Embankment” is a little poem he wrote about being out and alone on the Thames Embankment at night. I came across the poem years ago and have never forgotten it. This picture shows the Embankment one wet night in 1929. It is a favourite haunt of the temporarily homeless.

Once, in finesse of fiddles found I ecstasy,
In a flash of gold heels on the hard pavement.
Now see I
That warmth’s the very stuff of poesy.
Oh, God, make small
The old star-eaten blanket of the sky,
That I may fold it round me and in comfort lie.

I too have found delight, if not ecstasy, in a flash of gold heels, and I too have sat – and slept – out on the pavement in sub-zero temperatures.

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