W.H. Auden and his prose
Here on the cropped grass of the narrow ridge I stand,A fathom of earth, alive in air,Aloof as an admiral on the old rocksEngland below me: (from "Look, Stranger!" by W.H. Auden, 1936"
W.H. Auden, the accomplished poet and writer, worked as an English teacher at The Downs School in Colwall on the edge of the Malvern Hills in the early to mid 1930s. He was a much loved if somewhat eccentric teacher, famously taking his bed out on to the lawn one summer and writing the poem that opened "Out on the lawn I lie in bed". Several of his acclaimed poems were written and inspired by his time at the Downs and in the countryside on and around the Malvern Hills, including "The Malverns", "The Lunar Beauty", "My Love", "Hearing of Harvests" and "Our Hunting Fathers". "Schoolchildren" was written during a return visit later in 1937 after he had finished his teaching contract there.