Lyric poetry was of central importance for Owen Barfield. He discovered this as a teenager during the First World War, when he arrived at the conviction that “lyric poetry was one of the best things in life, and certainly the most hopeful, in the prevailing materialistic climate of opinion.” (See Owen Barfield and the Origin of Language.) Barfield is widely respected as the author of Poetic Diction and many insightful articles and reviews about poetry. What is less well known is that he was himself a prolific and very gifted lyric poet. Several of his finest lyrics are gathered in A Barfield Sampler; others, also wonderful, have been published in poetry anthologies and periodicals. A large number have never yet been published.
This page links to seven of Barfield’s poems: “History of English Poetry in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century” , “Habeas Corpus”, and five poems which Barfield published under the pseudonym of G. A. L. Burgeon – “The Russet”, “Semantics”, “Tradition in Poetry”, “Cosmetics”, and “The Doppelganger” . Barfield employed the same pseudonym when he first published his brilliant novel This Ever Diverse Pair.
Each of these seven lyrics is masterfully crafted, thought-provoking, and filled with delights. There also is a link to a listing of Barfield’s published poems and verse translations.
Owen Barfield (1935)