Most near, most dear, most loved and most far,
Under the window where I often found her
Sitting as huge as Asia, seismic with laughter,
Gin and chicken helpless in her Irish hand,
The lame dogs and hurt birds that surround her, -
She is a procession no one can follow after
But be like a little dog following a brass band.
She will not glance up at the bomber, or condescend
To drop her gin and scuttle to a cellar,
But lean on the mahogany table like a mountain
Whom only faith can move, and so I send
O all my faith, and all my love to tell her
That she will move from mourning into morning.
George Barker's mother was Irish but his father was English and he was born in Loughton, Essex. He was educated at the Regent Street Polytechnic and was always aware of poverty and deprivation. He was a youthful prodigy, with a book of poems and a novel published at the age of 20. Yeats described him as "a lovely subtle mind", whose poetry showed a "rhythmical invention comparable to Gerard Hopkins".