Rupert Brooke remains known for two poems: ‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’, which offers a powerful vision of dreamy English life before the outbreak of the First World War; and ‘The Soldier’, a patriotic sonnet written shortly after the outbreak of the war. But although Brooke was not a prolific poet – he died while still in his twenties – he wrote more than these two anthology favourites. His poem ‘Heaven’ is another classic, although less famous, and deserves a few words of analysis devoted to its quietly satirical tone and clever use of metaphor.
Fish (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat’ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?