Haibun Journey Today’s My Birthday — James Elroy Fletcher

James Elroy Fletcher was born on November 5, 1884 in Lewisham London. He was a poet, playwright and novelist. He had a brief career as a consular. His first assignment was in Istanbul, but he became ill and was diagnosed with TB. He died at the age of thirty due to tuberculosis. His poetry was greatly influenced by Parnassian poets.His poetry books were: The Bridge of Fire, Thirty-Six Poems, Forty-Two Poems , The Golden Journey to Samarkand, The Old Shipsand Collected Poems. James wrote two novels: The Last Generation: A Story of the Future and The King of Alsander. He has one play that was published posthumously: The Story of Hassan of Baghdad and How He Came to Make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

His most famous poem is here below

TO A POET A THOUSAND YEARS HENCE

WHO am dead a thousand years,
And wrote this sweet archaic song,
Send you my words for messengers
The way I shall not pass along.
I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry.
But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above?
How shall we conquer? Like a wind
That falls at eve our fancies blow,
And old Mæonides the blind
Said it three thousand years ago.
O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.
Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.

For more of his work check out the free online publications the Gutenberg Press or Poetry Hunter.

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My poem inspired by his play “Hassan”

on a sultry night
air drape with spice
we search for love