H. Palmer Hall: "Relics in Verse of an Old War"




          Privately published and presented to the Imperial War Museum by David Roland Leighton.

          Lieutenant Leighton served in the 7th Bn. Worcester Regt. Died December 22nd, 1915.

          "The poems of love were written for Vera Brittain." 


The Lieutenant wrote poems of love for

Vera, who wrote her own poems of sorrow

for the many young boys who died in war:

for some high cause, yes, for pride, country or, 

aping history, lines from Henry V. They’d

shown courage or stupidity, died in trenches.


A scant twelve pages. That’s all that’s left

of Lieutenant David Roland Leighton.

Pages buried in the stacks of the war museum

remind us that, young and alive, he’d loved Vera,

his muse, blond young woman who wrote

her own naive poems while serving as a VAD:


Poems of a VAD. She, volunteer in the nursing corps,

cried, felt her generation die: so many young men,

not just her lieutenant, but  a large percentage

of her nation’s young. Great poems? No. Not 

hers, nor his. Filled with youthful angst and hope. 

He died. She lived. The poems vanished for years.



H. Palmer Hall is the author of seven books of poetry and essays, including Foreign and Domestic and Coming to Terms. His work has appeared in a number of periodicals, including Ascent, Florida Review, North American Review, Palo Alto Review, and Texas Review, as well as such anthologies as American Diaspora and In a Fine Frenzy. Hall has been inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters, and he is Director of the Louis J. Blume Library at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, where he also teaches literature and creative writing.