And you Helen

This has always been one of my most favourite poems ever.  We studied Edward Thomas in A Level English Literature and this is the most romantic love poem ever.  From my very vague memories of English lessons in the portocabin I seem to think this was written towards the end of his life, when he realised how much his wife had given up for him. Helen looked after him through his whole life and sacrificed so much of herself for him. This is Edward admitting that he has taken so much from her and wishing that he could give her back her life, her youth and the power to choose a different path.

 

And you, Helen.

And you, Helen, what should I give you?
So many things I would give you
Had I an infinite great store
Offered me and I stood before
To choose. I would give you youth,
All kinds of loveliness and truth,
A clear eye as good as mine,
Lands, waters, flowers, wine,
As many children as your heart
Might wish for, a far better art
Than mine can be, all you have lost
Upon the travelling waters tossed,
Or given to me. If I could choose
Freely in that great treasure-house
Anything from any shelf,
I would give you back yourself,
And power to discriminate
What you want and want it not too late,
Many fair days free from care
And heart to enjoy both foul and fair,
And myself, too, if I could find
Where it lay hidden and it proved kind.

Edward Thomas
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