The poet, author, doctor and playwright Dannie Abse, who died in September 2014, was a long-standing contributor to Jewish Quarterly. We will miss him and his words. Here is the first poem he wrote for us, ‘Failure’. Published in Volume 1, Issue 1, 1953:
Failure, by Dannie Abse
Writing should be dedicated living, and ordinary heroes go
torn like bits of poems, bits of voices into the wind.
I should be vocal for all the dumb ; for the homeless be home,
for the hunted be shelter. Oh make this ink a land.
I should be forever new and tum towards them with pure surprise,
endow the lonely with gifts far lovelier than this look,
and cage their ragged shadows in my eyes
that fly down tearward. But only ghosts people this book.
Humanity, the earth is richer where you stand.
So I wish myself imagined, a young legendary sage
·possessed with worlds of blood and flesh, not this faltering hand
that limps in pain and poverty over each uncreated page.