Charms for lost Serenity

“Never have we longed for peace as we do now, when war has become an obscene horror worse than any imaginable storm, and noise and confusion so invade cities and homes that we are in danger of having our very minds and souls battered to a uniform pulp.”
( Book of Peace 1968)

So wrote Elizabeth Goudge in the preface to her collection of poetry “A Book of Peace.” published in 1968. They apply to the world we inhabit today. I had turned to my collection of Elizabeth’s anthologies, because of an email I had received about them.

There are books in any personal collection which speak to the owner and this is one of my great books. It is a 1st edition American copy, published by Coward McCann and signed by the author. The dedication is to Mary McMaster of the Community of St Luke dated February 1975. The cover is beautifully unstated, a blue background with a sunflower.

Inside was this slip offering a protection for the book on its journey from America to my bookshelf in England. It also contains a letter written to me by Sylvia Gower, the author of “The World of Elizabeth Goudge” and a photograph of Elizabeth sitting on Froinga’s well in her garden at Rose Cottage. It has thick creamy pages which appear to have been hand cut. All perfectly valid reasons for it being an important book to me. But the real and most compelling reasons are the poems it contains, the writers and poets she introduces me to and the voice of Elizabeth, gentle, lucid, speaking to me through her choices.





  1. I have two copies ~ a first edition (I think for it has a copyright date of 1967) which is supposed to live in my sitting room, and a paperback which is often in my study.
    My problem is that they are rarely where they should be as I tend to read, then carry about with me, put down and have to search when next I need it! But oh! the poems are so well chosen and it is a rare week when I don’t look within their covers.
    Thank you for this site and your contributions.

  2. That is a lovely testimonial. Thank you.

    I have not seen this book before, but will now be on the hunt for it.

  3. Thank you so much for this lovely post. This is a book I was not aware of, and now I have a new book to be on the lookout for – always a lovely thing to look forward to – thank you so much for this website!

  4. I had lost touch with the website and am so grateful that you are continuing to share Elizabeth’s Goudge’s beautiful words with the world that is in so much need of them.

  5. Thank you, Deborah, for such a lovely post. I haven’t come across this book before so I will search a copy out. I think we all could do with a ‘Book of Peace’ in these crazy times we live in!

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