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Why my father Cecil Day-Lewis’s poem Walking Away stands the test of time | Letters

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Sean Day-Lewis says the poem, quoted in a recent Guardian article, is as relevant today as it was when first published more than half a century ago

It was good to see the last couplet of my father’s Walking Away properly quoted by Saskia Sarginson (Empty nest? Not a chance, Family, 6 January). But she is a little off-message with her view that this Cecil Day-Lewis poem was “written for a different society”.

It can be argued that much of his poetry, now well out of fashion, belonged to its time. But this poem is very much for all times. It is a memory poem, looking back to my nervous first day at school in 1938. But it was published, some while after he walked away from my mother into a second marriage, in his 1962 volume of verse The Gate. Believe it or not, society of 1962 was much like that of 2018. It is the craziness of our governance that has changed.

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