Lost Words by Mavis Gulliver read at the library by Gill Scriven

Mavis wrote this poem at a workshop which focused on the centenary of Wilfred Owen’s death, 4th November 1918, tragically only days before the end of the war was declared. It was prompted by her own memory of getting buttercup pollen on her shoes. This is reflected in Wilfred Owen’s own writing which Mavis quotes from in her poem (shown in italics below).

Lost Words by Mavis Gulliver

Wilfred Owen –

Shropshire lad –

shoes blessed with gold of buttercups

could not save him from

the shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells

or the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle


So many poets lost

Words they might have written

locked inside the pen

sealed in the earth

like barren seeds

that should have grown

and bloomed

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