Here’s September 1 one day late: September 1, 1939, written by WH Auden in New York when Germany invaded Poland, starting the Second World War.
The war produced epic novels and movies. Casablanca was made in 1942, the year America joined the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Brief Encounter was made in 1945, From Here to Eternity in 1953.
See, the list doesn’t include one of his most famous poems, September 1, 1939, marking the day when Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II, when he was in America.
To be honest, I never particularly liked the opening lines, which are the ones most often quoted. But, while reading an article on him in the Guardian, I looked up the poem again and was moved by the way it rose from despair to anger to the ringing affirmation of faith in humanity in the last lines.
This was the day Poland was invaded by Germany and Russia 70 years ago, marking the start of the Second World War. Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later, on September 3.
Those wartime memories have now made Vera Lynn the oldest artiste to hit the charts. At the age of 92, she is back on the British album charts with a collection of her wartime songs, We’ll Meet Again, entering at No 20. We’ll Meet Again is a lovely song.
But just as sweet is the German wartime song, Lili Marlene. Here Vera Lynn sings it in English.