Gurney, Ivor: Selected Poems

Ivor Gurney (1890-1937) was an accomplished musician, composer and poet. He also suffered from severe mental illness from his mid twenties until his death.

Title: Gurney: Everyman’s Poetry: 13
Author: Gurney, Ivor
Year: 1996
ISBN: 0460877976


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One thought on “Gurney, Ivor: Selected Poems

  1. Steven Oliver

    It would be very wrong to think of Ivor Gurney solely as a ‘mad poet’, his work includes fine ‘war poems’ and ‘nature poems’ too. However there are poems that do express the utter despair of his depression, this poem was written at a time when he had been certified ‘insane’ and was in a private asylum.

    To God

    Why have you made life so intolerable
    And set me between four walls, where I am able
    Not to escape meals without prayer, for that is possible
    Only by annoying an attendant. And tonight a sensual
    Hell has been put on me, so that all has deserted me
    And I am merely crying and trembling in heart
    For Death, and cannot get it.
    And gone out is part
    Of sanity. And there is dreadful Hell within me,
    And nothing helps, forced meals there have been and electricity
    And weakening of sanity by influence
    Thats dreadful to endure, and there is orders
    And I am praying for death, death, death
    And dreadful is the indrawing or out-breathing of breath
    Because of the intolerable insults put on my whole soul
    Of the soul loathed, loathed, loathed of the soul.
    Gone out every bright thing from my mind.
    All lost that ever God himself designed.
    Not half can be written of cruelty of man, on man,
    Not often such evil guessed as between Man and Man.


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