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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. ...


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