Five poems which made my heart sing!

Word poem made with block wooden letters next to a pile of other letters over the wooden board surface composition

 

I’ve had a busy week doing ‘all the things’ – you know, from work to parenting to writing to life admin to volunteering … And as I couldn’t fit in one more of the ‘things’, I decided to repost this blog post about poems from a couple of years ago. Because even with all the ‘things’, there is still room for  a little poetry.

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I’ve recently had a few conversations about poems with strangers in public places – not something I usually do!

A couple of weeks ago, I had two meetings in the city to discuss corporate storytelling workshops, where I mentioned that I often use poetry as examples for rhythm, alliteration, metaphor and similes. On the way home, I hopped on and off a tram, and as I was waiting at a stop for the next tram, an older lady sitting on the tram bench started chatting to me. At first, I was a little non-committal but then I remembered my manners and turned to her to engage in the conversation properly. We discussed tram timetables, wearing heels and the weather before she asked me what I did. When I replied that I was an editor and writer, she almost jumped out of her seat and hugged me – ‘So am I!’ she said. So Jean (because we were on a first name basis pretty quickly!) told me how she edited and wrote small books on Christian poetry. And they had just organised a second print run for their latest collection.

This week, I was reading a book in a waiting room while filling in time for an appointment when the receptionist and another patient started discussing this patient’s wife’s book. I did eavesdrop for a little while – and then joined in the conversation and found out that the book in question was a book of poetry.

So, for anyone who has ever doubted that poetry was not relevant or commercial to Australians today – they are wrong, because I have two random conversations to prove it!

I have always enjoyed reading poetry and regret that I don’t read enough of it now. My cousin Cath lent me a book of poetry as a kid, and I loved it so much, I bought my own copy which I still have. There are certain poems which have stayed with me, and I thought I’d share them here.

Cinderella by Roald Dahl – I learnt this funny poem off by heart as a kid and my kids think it’s hilarious today.

The highway man by Alfred Noyes – this poem was in my cousin’s book and it is still a favourite. You have probably heard or read this one. I doubly loved it when Anne in the mini-series, Anne of Green Gables, recited it at a Prince Edward Island competition. I recently used it as an example in a grade 4 writing workshop.

Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson – I studied this poem in VCE Literature. My teacher was a fabulous poetry teacher and really helped us to understand the significance of each line. I still have his handout with faded type, and my pencil notes written in the margins. Think I will have this tattooed on my forehead when I’m older.

How do I love thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning – I chose to have a few lines from this poem printed on our wedding booklets – which as of last week, was nineteen years ago!

The journey by Mary Oliver – once I had kids, I really appreciated this poem. It is relevant to everyone, no matter what stage of your journey.

Anyone else have a favourite poem to share? Or tell me about the ‘things’ you are doing?

 

10 comments

  1. Hi Karen
    Two of my favourite poems are If by Rudyard Kipling and The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear. Kipling’s If has supported me through many times of ambuiguity and challenge at work – “If you can keep your head when all about you, Are losing theirs..”. The Owl and the Pussycat – is a lovely poem to read with my kids.

  2. My brush with poetry was yesterday when I attended a funeral. The family chose an Emily Dickinson poem to be read during the service. ” ‘Hope’ is a thing with feathers”.

    So, yes poetry has relevance in our world today.

    Terri.

  3. One of my favourite poets is Robert Frost.
    I remember reciting “Mending Wall” when I was in Teacher’s College (the first time, many years ago). I loved the poem then and I still love it now.
    “The Road less Travelled” is another favourite.
    I guess we don’t think about reading poetry much these days with so much good literature around and so little time.
    We should make time for poetry.
    Thanks for the reminder Karen.

    1. Kathy, I love ‘The road less travelled’ but I had to look up ‘Mending wall’. Thanks for introducing it to me! Definitely worth another read, and then another.

  4. I love ‘Augustus Gloop, Augustus Gloop, the great big greedy nincompoop’ the poem from Charlie and the Chocolate factory by Dahl. Always cracks me up. Thanks for reminding me to spend a bit more time with poetry!

  5. I have always struggled a bit with poetry, Karen!I remember dragging myself through the poetry component of lit in year 12. Snippets of Gerard Manley Hopkins have stuck in my mind but I have little idea what they meant. I recognise the skill in being able to put together language with such brevity yet so filled with meaning but I still struggle to grasp the meaning at times. Roald, of course is different!

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