Edmund Blunden - echoes from Yalding church bells Find!
Browsing along the poetry shelves in the Centre for Kentish Studies, I found several books with poems by Edmund Blunden, who, I discovered, spent much of his childhood in the village of Yalding. Throughout his life he maintained a deep affection for the Kentish countryside, and many of his poems were inspired by Yalding. One which appealed to me particularly, and which I had not come across before, is Water Sport. In the first verse he offers us this dialogue between the church bells of Yalding and those of the nearby village of Hunton:
"Come all who hear our song" say Yalding bells,
And dim "We bid you come" ring Hunton's four;
Then, "Come, come, come," the dingley treble tells,
And still the echo rings a moment more.
The sunny music travelling out like bees
Was pleasant on the water's wide blue glade,
Where Cheveney mill peers through the poplar trees -
Sweet fell the summons there, but none obeyed.
Blunden spent two years in the trenches during World War I, and the effects of that experience never left him. After the war, he met up with Siegfried Sassoon, and the two became close friends for over forty years.
Intrigued to find out more about Edmund Blunden, I came across this excellent website, set up by the Blunden family:
On the green in Yalding there is a plaque commemorating Blunden's presence, engraved with the poem, Blunden's Beech by Siegfried Sassoon:
27 September 2009 from Julia
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