January 1943.
“January 12. 1943” or
to J.B. and C.T.


Out of the weary desert of war,

Rises a green oasis to view.

Our paths shall meet, our vows we’ll take,

And begin our lives anew.


Tho’ our bodies part, our hearts are one,

Never to part again.

We will tread our paths, with a steady step,

Thro’ joy or sorrow or pain.


Tho’ far away I shall feel the beat,

Of your heart in time with mine,

Days will be night, and toil will be sweet,

Because our lives entwine.


Far away at the end of strife,

We can see a fair green land.

No oasis this, but our own loved home,

At the end of the desert sand.


God send us peace, and grant us life,

To spend together in love.

Till we part once more, and meet again,

In the Light of Heaven above.


In the poem sub-title ‘To J.B. and C.T.’ the initials almost certainly refer to ‘Jock’ Brown and his bride, who married in January 1943. ‘Jock’ was the Scottish soldier whom May’s family had befriended when he was serving as a cook with the Royal Artillery billeted at ‘Corbie’, next door to ‘Lenton Lodge’. Frequently mentioned in the Diaries, ‘Jock’ has also been referred to as ‘Cookie’, ‘Mr Brown’ or ‘Brownie’. (See photograph, with diary post 20 Sep. 1941.)

The poem has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small which contains over twenty of May’s poems as well as selected diary extracts, including those which suggest the background to each poem, accompanied by many nostalgic photographs.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

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