Thursday 3 October 2019

National Poetry Day 2019

Since today is National Poetry Day, I think it's time I came out with it and admitted to being something of a closet poetry fan. I have a collection of three or four poetry books which I dig out from time to time. I would provide photographic proof, but they are currently nestled in a packing box ready to move to a new home. I thought I was being super organised packing away things that aren't used every day, until I realised that today is NPD day and it would have been nice to take a picture of my books to share with you. I shall endeavour to put that right next year, and perhaps add to my collection.

Anyway, as usual, I have gone somewhat off topic again (no surprise there), but I must say a huge thank you to Channel 4's Sunday Brunch for flagging this day up for me when they had the fabulous Gyles Brandreth on. I confess, I am a something of a 'Gyles' fan. He's so intelligent, funny and just has a way of brightening your day with his colourful character. He's also passionate about poetry and during his interview was sharing the benefits of learning poetry by heart (remember those days at school?). Apparently, doing this can help prevent dementia, which has to be a good reason to give it a go.

Poetry Bench WH Davies
WH Davies - The Tramp Poet

The theme of this year's National Poetry Day is Truth, why not head over to their website and read the collection of poems they have selected on the subject. You can also find out what events have been organised in your local area to celebrate this day. If you do attend an event, please do let us know in the comments. We do love to hear from you.

I don't really have a favourite poem as such, but one which always makes me chuckle and never fails to brighten my day is this one;

Celia, Celia by Adrian Mitchell

When I am sad and weary,
When I think all hope is gone,
When I walk along High Holborn,
I think of you with nothing on.

It's short, it's funny and it amuses me. It's one I do also know off by heart, though whether that is enough to ward off dementia, I very much doubt it, but at least I can make my future grandchildren laugh.

And of course, I couldn't possibly write a post on poetry without mentioning WH Davies. I spent two years studying the life of this gentleman. His book 'The Autobiography of a Supertramp,' was part of our 'O' Level English Literature course. I was very lucky to really enjoy both the books we had to study, the novel was Anne Bronte's, 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.' I have since reread both books and would highly recommend both. However, this is a post about poetry so I shall return to Davies. Perhaps it's because he lived as a tramp for so many years that his poetry is so moving, or perhaps it's a personal thing, having studied his story for two years and getting to know the man behind the words. Whatever, it would be wrong not to end this post with the rest of the poem written on the bench at the top of this piece.

Leisure by W.H. Davies

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


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