8

The poem is available at the Poetry Foundation. A Slideshare presentation makes the unsourced claim that the trees mentioned were cut down in the "early 1920s". However, the level of grief expressed within the poem suggests that another event might have influenced the emotions expressed within the poem. I suspect (without evidence) that her sister's predeceasing her by a short period could possibly have influenced these emotions.

Despite this, no source appears to explicitly date the poem, hence the question.

3

It seems to have been first published posthumously in 1929.

The book A New Matrix for Modernism: A Study of the Lives and Poetry of Charlotte Mew and Anna Wickham by Nelljean Rice calls it "one of her last poems", and she died on 24 March 1928.

The book In Nature's Name: An Anthology of Women's Writing and Illustration, 1780-1930 edited by Barbara T. Gates sources it to her collection The Rambling Sailor, which was first published in 1929.

So it's not clear exactly when it was written, but the late 1920s seems like the best guess.

  • This was very helpful. I'll mark it as the accepted answer tomorrow if no one else suggests anything. I'd add that a little more digging had me find this - this is admittedly completely unsourced and I don't have access to The Chapbook. – Anagram Ataf Oct 5 '17 at 19:44
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    @AnagramAtaf Huh, interesting. That cites 1923 as the publication date for "The Trees are Down", but it also cites 1922 for The Rambling Sailor while the more reputable-looking source I found says TRS was first published in 1929. – Rand al'Thor Oct 5 '17 at 20:01
  • It is possible that the National Library of Australia reference was autogenerated and referred to a specific edition, I suppose. This website is slightly less dodgy than it initially appears (it's not autogenerated based on random snippets stolen from the internet as I initially thought - the website claims that there's an academic behind it) but it could still be unreliable nevertheless. – Anagram Ataf Oct 5 '17 at 21:12

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