Gurney’s life was a tragic one, even more so in that, surviving the First World War he was afterwards destroyed by it. Mentally unstable before it, the things he experienced and the gas he breathed during it made his life a living hell after it. Unable to sustain a normal life, he drifted, he prevaricated and he ended up in an institution. The poetry he wrote and the music he composed was sublime but was out of kilter with the realities of post-war England. He simply found himself unable to cope.
His best known volume of poetry, Severn and Somme, illustrates clearly the dichotomy between his two lives and how unsuited he was for the military one. This little book explains his predicament clearly and succinctly, making me want to read more.