1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

'Timothy' 'Winters' - URGENT!

Discussion in 'English' started by MrStephenSanderson, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. Hi folks,

    Can anyone help! I need to know this really urgently for a job interview tomorrow. I'm teaching a poetry lesson based around the poem, 'Timothy Winters' by Charles Causley. I'm confused by the line 'At Morning Prayers the Master helves'. The only definition I can find for 'helves' is to put a handle on a tool such as an axe. Does anyone know it to mean something different or can explain what they think the poet meant here?

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
  2. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    'prays' - archaic usage
    I don't think - I know.
  3. gruoch, where did you find this out? I'd been told this too but have no source which I can cite.
  4. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    PS: it might be worth mentioning that it has an undercurrent of intercession about it, so perhaps a little stronger than simply 'prays'.
    I don't think I've ever come across it anywhere else, so it may be Cornish or a Cornish dialect word.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. Ah, the Cornish connection makes sense.
  6. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    How did itgo?
  7. I happen to know he got the job.
  8. TeasMad

    TeasMad New commenter

    Resurrecting this thread because my son just asked me what 'helves' meant and I had to Google it!
    I found this discussion, and then a quote from a 2014 book called 'Belonging and Estrangement in the Poetry of Larkin, Thomas and Causley' by Rory Waterman.
    It says "The verb 'helve' says much about Causley's feelings towards this self-proclaiming authority on godly values. At the foot of the poem the poet glosses the term as 'a dialect word from north Cornwall used to describe the alarmed lowing of cattle (as when a cow is separated from her calf); a desperate, pleading note'. There is nothing to indicate that this 'pleading' is insincere, but considering who hears it and what his future has in store, it is certainly misdirected and ineffectual: lip-service to morality, rather than the fruition of it. But the word has another definition: the handle of a hitting tool, such as an axe or hammer, as in Robert Frost's 'The Ax-Helve'. So the Master is hammering home an ineffectual plea for sharing and helping those less fortunate, whilst talking on behalf of a society that could do better for its needy"

    Maybe that will clarify things for the next person reading Timothy Winters who does a web search for helve...

Share This Page