1968 - 1985

Last Years

Robert s last Collected Poems (they appeared every ten years or so) was published in 1975 and...

...that summer he celebrated his 80th birthday with a large gathering of friends and family. His brother John and his sister Roz were both present, and together they sang some of the songs of their childhood days in Wimbledon and Harlech. But Graves s memory was failing fast and he was becoming aware that he was losing the power of concentration that is necessary to write poetry. This awareness is painfully expressed in some of his last poems. As the memory loss worsened, his war neurosis returned to haunt him; he gradually lost his ability to walk. A man who was born in the nineteenth century, fought in the First World War and who had visited Rome, Greece, and Biblical lands, not just physically but through the power of his mind, had now reached the end of his journey. He lived his last years cared for by his wife Beryl and surrounded by children and grandchildren and died peacefully on December 7th, 1985, at the age of 90. The moon was waning. He is buried in the Dei cemetery, overlooking the Mediterranean, with an epitaph that reads simply:

Robert Graves, Poeta.

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