Poetry: life writing at Churchill Archives Centre

6th December 2021 in Archives Centre, Our Collections

Poetry is another form of life writing people turn to when looking to record different moments in their lives.

Included at the end of a letter in the papers of Peter and Phyllis Wilmott is a poem penned by one of their friends, Winifred Pluckrose.

At the start of the Second World War, Winifred worked for National Provincial Bank in the City of London. She however swapped her abacus for an axe when she began working as a Lumber Jill for the Women’s Timber Corps in Somerset.

Throughout her time as a forestry war worker, she regularly wrote to Phyllis to share her experiences of wartime life. On 7 October 1944, Winifred was proud to share her joy at having a ‘socialist poem published in the Timber Corps magazine!’. The poem documents, in highly emotional terms, Winifred’s questioning of why the country is at war.

Youth’s Aim - 1944

And what are we fighting for?  Do they know

this tired work - worn youth, aged

prematurely

to maintain a life that should be

spent

in adolescent joys?

Source: WLMT 2/2/4, Churchill Archives Centre.

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Explore other poetry in our collection:

If we’ve whetted your appetite, then do get in touch to explore our collections.


archives@chu.cam.ac.uk

Want to catch up with earlier posts in our series? Check out our blogs on autobiographies and biographies, letters, diaries, scrapbooks and comics.

Looking for useful introductions for working with life writing? Here’s some of our favourites:

By Cherish Watton, Archives Assistant.


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