Charles Causley - Poet

Charles Causley was born in 1917 in Launceston, Cornwall. He was an only child, son of a groom and gardener who died from wounds sustained in the First World War when the poet was seven years old. From a young age, Charles wanted to be an author and began a first novel at the tender age of nine. As a young man, he played the piano in a dance band, which may have influenced some of his later ballad-like poetry.

During the Second World War he served in the Royal Navy leaving to return to Launceston in 1946. He attended Peterborough Teacher Training College where he studied English and history. On receiving his qualification, he began teaching at the school in Launceston where he had studied as a boy. He lived and worked for the rest of his life in Cornwall.

In 1951 Causley wrote “Farewell, Aggie Weston”, a small collection of thirty-one poems. His empathy with children led him to write imaginative stories and poetry for them. Much of his work was influenced by folk songs, hymns and ballads. He also did a number of broadcasts for children.

His poetry was not trendy but simple and sometimes naïve. Many of his writings were about places he visited during his years in the navy. He had a strong sense of place and atmosphere. Causley died, aged 86, in 2003 and is buried next to his mother’s grave in St. Thomas’s Churchyard, Launceston, only yards from the spot where he was born.