More Collections SULAIR SU Home
The Mary Webb Digital Archive
« back to item list
Mary Webb home

[Manuscript Poem] “A Night Sky (1916)”

  1. 00018556_0001
  2. 00018556_0002

Mary Webb. “A night sky (1916).” Manuscript poem, one leaf, 6½″ x 7⅜″, on white laid ruled paper, black ink. Sixteen lines with cross-outs and corrections. In Webb’s anxiety for her three younger brothers who were then serving on the Western Front, she wrote this poem alluding to the pain and bloodshed of World War I and her hope for reconciliation through a unifying love: “The moon, beyond her violet bars, / From towering heights of thunder cloud, / Sheds calm upon our scarlet wars, / To soothe a world so small, so loud.” The Webbs lived in Chester with Mary’s mother during the week while Henry taught at the King's School, returning to Shropshire on weekends. In a letter to Arthur St. John Adcock (editor of the Bookman), Webb later expressed guilt for having spent the war years “hibernated in the beauty of nature.”