Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Arthur Newberry Choyce (1893 - 1937) – British poet

Arthur was the ‘Leicestershire WW1 Soldier Poet’ whose poetry was compared by “The Independent” newspaper to that of Rupert Brooke

Arthur Newberry Choyce was born in Hugglescote, Leicestershire, UK in 1893.  His parents were Benjamin Choyce, a carpenter, and his wife Mary Ann Choyce, nee Newberry.  The Leicestershire village in which the family lived was near Coalville, about ten miles from Loughborough.

At the outbreak of war, Arthur joined the Leicestershire Regiment as a Second Lieutenant.  He was sent to the Western Front where he saw action during the Somme Offensive in 1916.

Wounded on 15th June 1917, Arthur sheltered for twenty hours in a shell hole before being rescued and sent for treatment.

When he had recovered sufficiently he was sent to America on a speaking tour, reciting his poems to great acclaim, encouraging Americans to join in the fight.

After the war, Arthur continued writing and publishing his work.  He became headmaster of Snibston village Primary School in Coalville, Leicestershire.   Arthur died in 1937 in Ashby-de-la-Zouche.

Arthur’s WW1 poetry collections were:  "Crimson Stains: poems of war and love" published in 1917 by Erskine Macdonald, London;

"Memory: poems of war and love" published in New York by John Lane in 1918. Which you can find here:  https://archive.org/details/memorypoemsofwar00choy and

“Songs while wandering” (John Lane, New York, 1919), written in America and dedicated to England

Arthur also had some poems published in the WW1 Anthology "Soldier Poets: more songs of the fighting men" edited by Galloway Kyle and published by Erskine Macdonald in 1917.

Arthur wrote a poem while crossing the Atlantic in April 1918 but it does not reflect the dangers of such a journey.  Tad Fitch and Michael Poirier have written a book that describes in details the perils of crossing the Atlantic – “Into the Danger Zone”.  For a review please see http://fascinatingfactsofww1.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/book-review-into-danger-zone-sea.html

Atlantic Crossing

The little song that you sing to me
Seems part of the sea’s own melody
(We are alone, just you and I).
It is late … you wanted to see the moon.
Have you heard that we come to harbour soon?
(How swiftly the stars and the sea slip by!).

Churned in the wonderful waves below
Clusters of phosphorous fishes glow,
(How swiftly the stars and the sea slip by!)
And we who have just a remaining day
Are silently staring our dreams away…
(We are alone, just you and I).

Alone, alone, just you and I …
My soul! … how the stars and the sea slip by!


Sources:
Catherine W. Reilly "English Poetry of the First World War A Bibliography" (St. Martin's Press, New York, 1978)
http://www.westernparkgazette.co.uk/latest?newsNumber=1738
https://charnwoodpoetryarchive.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/charnwoods-forgotten-war-poet/#more-71

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