Biography of Dannie Abse
Daniel Abse, CBE FRSL (22 September 1923 – 28 September 2014) was a Welsh poet.
Abse was born in Cardiff, Wales, to a Jewish family. He was the younger brother of politician and reformer Leo Abse and the eminent psychoanalyst, Wilfred Abse. Abse first studied medicine at the University of Wales College of Medicine, and then at Westminster Hospital Medical School and King's College London.
Abse was a passionate supporter of Cardiff City. He first went to watch them play in 1934 and many of his writings refer to his experiences watching and lifelong love of The Bluebirds.
Although best known as a poet, Abse worked in the medical field, and was a specialist at a chest clinic for over thirty years. He received numerous literary awards and fellowships for his writing. In 1989, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Wales.
His first poetic volume, After Every Green Thing, was published in 1949. His autobiographic work, Ash on a Young Man's Sleeve, was published in 1954. He won the Welsh Arts Council Award in both 1971 and 1987, and the Cholmondeley Award in 1985. He has been a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature since 1983.
Abse lived for several decades in the northwest area of London, mainly near Hampstead where he has considerable ties. For several years he wrote a column for the "Ham & High" (Hampstead and Highgate Express) local newspaper. The articles were subsequently published in book form.
In 2005, his wife Joan Abse was killed in a car accident, while Abse suffered a broken rib. His poetry collection, Running Late, was published in 2006, and The Presence, a memoir of the year after his wife died, was published in 2007; it won the 2008 Wales Book of the Year award. The book was later dramatised for BBC Radio 4. He was awarded the Roland Mathias prize for Running Late.
In 2009 Abse brought out a volume of collected poetry. In the same year, he received the Wilfred Owen Poetry Award. Abse was a judge for the inaugural 2010 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. Abse was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to poetry and literature.
Dannie Abse died on 28 September 2014, aged 91.
Dannie Abse Poems
In the Theatre
Sister saying—‘Soon you'll be back in the ward,' sister thinking—‘Only two more on the list,' the patient saying—‘Thank you, I feel fine';
The Old Gods
The gods, old as night, don't trouble us. Poor weeping Venus! Her pubic hairs are grey, and her magic love girdle has lost its spring.
Not Adlestrop, no - besides the name hardly matters. Nor did I languish in June heat. Simply, I stood, too early, on the empty platform, and the wrong train came in slowly, surprised, stopped.
A heritage of a sort. A heritage of comradeship and suffocation.
Singing, today I married my white girl beautiful in a barley field. Green on thy finger a grass blade curled,
Ask The Moon
1 Wakeful past 3 a.m. near the frontiers of Nothing it's easy, so easy
Talking To Myself
In the mildew of age all pavements slope uphill slow slow towards an exit.
Pathology Of Colours
I know the colour rose, and it is lovely, but not when it ripens in a tumour; and healing greens, leaves and grass, so springlike, in limbs that fester are not springlike.
The Victim Of Aulis
A multitude of masts in the harbour. The sails limp in the air, becalmed. The tired sea barely moving. The sea breathes quietly, Agamemnon.
Writing should be dedicated living, and ordinary heroes go lame, torn like bits of poems, bits of voices into the wind. I should be vocal for all the dumb ; for the homeless be home,
Splendidly, Shakespeare's heroes, Shakespeare's heroines, once the spotlight's on, enact every night, with such grace, their verbose deaths.
Some prowl sea-beds, some hurtle to a star and, mother, some obsessed turn over every stone or open graves to let that starlight in.
The Water Diviner
Late, I have come to a parched land doubting my gift, if gift I have, the inspiration of water
Song for Pythagoras
White coat and purple coat a sleeve from both he sews. That white is always stained with blood,
In the Theatre
Sister saying—‘Soon you'll be back in the ward,'
sister thinking—‘Only two more on the list,'
the patient saying—‘Thank you, I feel fine';
small voices, small lies, nothing untoward,
though, soon, he would blink again and again
because of the fingers of Lambert Rogers,
rash as a blind man's, inside his soft brain.
If items of horror can make a man laugh