10.38 pm: Time for Verse 'The Poet's Christmas,' selections of poems for Christmas, including new poems specially written by Siegfried Sassoon, Henry Reed, George Barker.
(I can't seem to get the relevant snippet to appear.) A quick glance at the radio schedule in the Times for that weekend confirms a "Poetry reading" that evening. "Time for Verse" was a popular and long-running feature produced by Patric Dickinson.
This broadcast would seem to be a revisit to a program from the year before. On Christmas Eve, 1944, Reed read his poem "The Return" as part "A Poet's Christmas," which featured
verse especially written by Cecil Day Lewis, Louis MacNeice, Edith Sitwell, V. Sackville West, Laurie Lee, John Heath-Stubbs, Frances Cornford, Ann Ridler, Henry Reed, and [music composed by Benjamin] Britten (Chorale and The Shepherd's Carolboth by W.H. Auden), Lennox Berkeley (Francis Cornford's There was neither grass nor corn), and Michael Tippet (Edith Sitwell's The Weeping Babe)
The 1945 program sounds like a less celebrated affair, but I'm intrigued by the suggestion of poems commissioned from the likes of Sassoon and Barker. Would anyone care to suggest which poems they might have chosen for Christmas, 1945? Sassoon wrote both "Litany of the Lost" and "Sanctuary" in November of that year.
If I had to venture a guess, I would think Reed would have simply fallen back on his poem from the previous year, "The Return" (previously mentioned) He did compose a sonnet, however, with a winter theme: "The Forest." It appears in A Map of Verona so it must have been written prior to May, 1946, though it appears again, oddly, in the Listener on October 17, 1946.
Most unfortunately, I don't have easy access to the Listener from 1945 or 1946. I'll try the New Statesman.