Biography of Harold Monro
Harold Edward Monro was a British poet, the proprietor of the Poetry Bookshop in London which helped many famous poets bring their work before the public. Monro was born in Brussels, but his parents were Scottish. He was educated at Radley and at Caius College, Cambridge. His first collection of poetry was published in 1906. He founded a poetry magazine, The Poetry Review, which was to be very influential. In 1912, he founded the Poetry Bookshop in Bloomsbury, London, publishing new collections at his own expense and rarely making a profit, as well as providing a welcoming environment for readers and poets alike. Several poets, including Wilfred Owen, actually lodged in the rooms above the bookshop. Monro was also closely involved with Edward Marsh in the publication of Georgian Poetry.
Although homosexual, he married before World War I, but he and his wife separated and were divorced in 1916. In 1917, he was called up for military service, a very unhappy experience for him. His health soon gave way, and he returned to run the Poetry Bookshop in 1919. He was not a mainstream war poet, but did occasionally write about the subject. In 1920, he married his long-standing assistant, Alida Klementaski. Their relationship seems to have been an intellectual rather than a physical one. Monro continued to suffer from alcoholism, which contributed to his early death.
Harold Monro's Works:
Strange Meetings (1917)
Children of Love (1919)
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Harold Monro Poems
Milk For The Cat
When the tea is brought at five o'clock, And all the neat curtains are drawn with care, The little black cat with bright green eyes
WHEN you have tidied all things for the night, And while your thoughts are fading to their sleep, You'll pause a moment in the late firelight,
Overheard on a Salmarsh
Nymph, nymph, what are your beads? Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them? Give them me.
Child of Dawn
O gentle vision in the dawn: My spirit over faint cool water glides, Child of the day, To thee;
You little friend, your nose is ready; you sniff, Asking for that expected walk, (Your nostrils full of the happy rabbit-whiff)
The Bird at Dawn
What I saw was just one eye In the dawn as I was going : A bird can carry all the sky
When I returned at sunset, The serving-maid was singing softly Under the dark stairs, and in the house Twilight had entered like a moon-ray.
The Rebellious Vine
One day, the vine That clomb on god’s own house Cried, “I will not
Youth in Arms
HAPPY boy, happy boy, David the immortal-willed, Youth a thousand thousand times Slain, but not once killed,
Children Of Love
The holy boy Went from his mother out in the cool of the day Over the sun-parched fields And in among the olives shining green and shining grey.
Tell me about that harvest field. Oh! Fifty acres of living bread. The colour has painted itself in my heart; The form is patterned in my head.
The Nightingale Near The House
Here is the soundless cypress on the lawn: It listens, listens. Taller trees beyond Listen. The moon at the unruffled pond
It is the sacred hour: above the far Low emerald hills that northward fold, Calmly, upon the blue the evening star Floats, wreathed in dusky gold.
This might have been a place for sleep, But, as from that small hollow there Hosts of bright thistledown begin
Children Of Love
The holy boy
Went from his mother out in the cool of the day
Over the sun-parched fields
And in among the olives shining green and shining grey.
There was no sound,
No smallest voice of any shivering stream.
Poor sinless little boy,
He desired to play and to sing; he could only sigh and dream.