"The Oldie is an incredible magazine - perhaps the best magazine in the world right now" Graydon Carter, founder of Air Mail and former Editor of Vanity Fair

Subscribe to the Oldie and get a free cartoon book


Cecil Day-Lewis, the forgotten poet - Peter Stanford

Features | By Peter Stanford

Cecil Day-Lewis at home in Greenwich, 1968

Cecil Day-Lewis is remembered for a scandal and his famous son. Fifty years after his death, we should salute his poetry, says Peter Stanford

In Children Leaving Home, a poem written at the end of his life for his two younger offspring, Tamasin and Daniel, the Anglo-Irish Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis (1904-72) posed the question ‘What shall I have to bequeath?’ His dispirited answer was ‘a sack of genes/I did not choose, some verse/Long out of fashion, a laurel wreath/Wilted…’ Time has proved him wrong. Half a century on from his death on 22nd May 1972, that same sack of genes has seen Daniel become the only three-times winner of the Oscar for Best Actor. ...

I’m afraid this isn’t one of our six free articles available in full, which are set out in the first two rows of the ‘Magazine’ page.
Please click here to find them.

To buy a digital version of this issue for just £1.99, click here