Only, I think, once or twice does one stumble across that person into whom one fits at once: to whom one can stand naked, all disclosed. – Charles Hamilton Sorley Charles Hamilton Sorley was convinced he would “stumble across” love, but for much of his time in the trenches in 1915 it was the closeness of camaraderie, the “second best” sort of love, that triggered feelings in him: the “friendship of circumstance” could look a lot like the real thing. Both kinds of love were a preoccupation for the soldier poet of the First World War; something shining in the earth – a promise, a consolation for the brutalities imposed by king and country. Our instinctive connection to that long-off war is the poetry of the trenches, not the history books. Why can we not think of war now without a line or two of Owen or Sassoon or Sorley dropping into our heads? Owen, Sassoon, Graves, Gurney, Sorley, even Brooke, are our guides to that brutal conflict; great poets all, but also lovers – lovers of men, lovers of male bodies, male sweat, male breath, seeking the one in front of whom they might stand naked, “all disclosed” 100 years ago. The… Read full this story
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