Valley of the Shadow

    God, I am travelling out to death's sea,
       I, who exulted in sunshine and laughter,
    Dreamed not of dying -- death is such waste of me! --
       Grant me one prayer: Doom not the hereafter
    Of mankind to war, as though I had died not --
       I who, in battle, my comrade's arm linking,
    Shouted and sang, life in my pulses hot
       Throbbing and dancing! Let not my sinking
    In dark be for naught, my death a vain thing!
       God, let me know it the end of man's fever!
    Make my last breath a bugle call, carrying
       Peace o'er the valleys and cold hills for ever!

    John Galsworthy (1867-1933)

John Galsworthy was awarded the 1923 Nobel Prize in literature. Born in Kingston Hill, Surry on August 14, he was educated as a lawyer but soon gave it up to become a novelist and playwright. His fiction was primarily concerned with English upper middle class often dealing with the economically or socially oppressed. A dramatist of considerable technical skill his confrontation of double standard of justice as applied to the upper and lower classes in Justice (1910), his most famous play, led to a prison reform in England.

World War I was the primary influence on the poetry he wrote, Valley of the Shadow is an example. Bob Blair writes at The Poet's Corner:

(Valley of the Shadow) is the strangest use of dactylic verse I've found, because it seems to combine two contrasting traditional uses of the dactyl: as an indicator of forward motion and as a mourning rhythm. I'm not sure it works, but it does make the poem memorable.

Galsworthy died on January 31, 1933. During his career Galsworthy produced 20 novels, 27 plays, 3 collections of poetry, 173 short stories, 5 collections of essays, 700 letters, and many sketches and miscellaneous works.Galsworthy refused knighthood in 1917 in the belief that writers should not accept titles and gave away half of his income to humanitarian causes. His best remembered works are from The Forsyte Saga which follows the lives of three generations of the British middle-class before 1914. His reputation declined after his death and he was heavily attacked by the next generation of writers. D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf accused Galsworthy of being thoroughly embodied in the values he was supposedly criticizing.


Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:

Citaion from : The Poets' Corner:

CST Approved.

I have watched enough Twilight Zone to know what I am getting with a story, and also enough Twilight Zone to know I am probably wrong. "Valley of the Shadow", the third episode of the fourth season of The Twilight Zone, starts off in familiar territory. The opening scene and the opening narration establish that we are visiting a small town, cut off from the modern world. The Twilight Zone's ambiguous relationship with nostalgia and small town America have been a prominent theme, and I expected to see something somewhat like A Stop at Willoughby.

Reporter Philip Redfield takes a wrong turn on his way to Albuquerque, and finds himself in the small town of "Peaceful Valley", when his dog runs after a cat. A small girl points a device at his dog, and his dog disappears. The girl's father, played by a young James Doohan, quickly "finds" the dog, but the reporter's instincts are piqued. I was expecting an episode about the tension between Space Age America's relationship with its past, and was instead getting an episode where a small town has futuristic technology. The hour long format allows the show to zig zag more: are we watching an ethical drama, a star-crossed romance, or slapstick? At various times, I thought it would take a turn to one of these, but it kept an uneven approach. But on the Twilight Zone, being in-between is quite literally the name of the game.

At the end of the episode I am not quite sure what I learned. More than anything, it reminded me of one of many of the Star Trek episodes where they debate The Prime Directive. Is this a cautionary tale about utopias? A statement about the corruptibility of human nature? A fable about how much there is around us that is hidden from us? It can be read many ways, but it continues to develop themes put forward in other Twilight Zone episodes.

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