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It’s difficult to reckon the distance of a drop just from where the falling object lands.
Knowing what they knew, the literary crowd found Seeger’s poems antiquated, if not outright dishonest.
They felt that readers should see the depth that European society had sunk to in World War I.
In his most widely acclaimed work, “I Have a Rendezvous With Death . It may be he shall take my hand And lead me into his dark land And close my eyes and quench my breath —It may be I shall pass him still. Kennedy’s favorite poem, according to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — though that fact doesn’t seem to be recorded in his published papers.
Rather, it was an intimate favorite, his love for it recognized through the look on his face while it was recited.
The war’s cultural history and its actual one have become entwined over time so that the work of these two poets are more memorials — stone scrolls that speak of death by gas and sightless charges over the edge of trenches — than that of writers with whom modern-day readers genuinely engage.
Seeger is something still less: not a writer who faded away to acclaim of a ceremonial sort, but one who became unfashionable to even the most hospitable critics of the postwar years.
A poet whom many critics found unremarkable, whose efforts ended before his prime, who depicted a war that may not have ever existed in reality — is there any reason to remember his poems from among the tens of thousands written during the war? The vision of the war that Graves and Owen presented was secondary to Seeger.
What is lost along with Seeger when he’s passed over? He saw what they saw, recognized it and looked elsewhere.
I am twenty-eight years old tomorrow.”The letter writer is still young, you might say.
The romanticism that colored Seeger’s experience of life extended to the war itself.