National Poetry Day: Thursday 7 October 2010
7 October 2010 Is National Poetry Day
... so what's your favourite?
For National Poetry Day 2009, the theme was "Heroes and Heroines" and it was a special year as The Poetry Society were celebrating their Centenary year.
Many people have a favourite poem, those time-old rhymes we learnt at school, maybe the ones we had to learn to recite at Girl Guides in exchange for badges, or a longer piece needed for a nerve-wracking presentation during our schooldays.
There are three that stand out for me, nothing major - I'm not really big on poetry, but that doesn't mean I can't get enjoyment from the few poems I like. Those three are:
Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
This has long been a popular poster, hanging on the walls of many a teenager, and was even turned into a recording that got into the hit charts in the 1970s. The title is Latin and means "desired things", it's probably quite appropriate to today's modern society and it's credit card wielding shopaholic culture, making us think of simpler times when the world seemed a more relaxing place.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
The Daffodils, William Wordsworth (1804)
Who can forget those words of "wandered lonely as a cloud, when all at
once I saw a crowd, a host of waving daffodils". Written in 1804, this
poem has been i n many an exam syllabus. I think most of us are
familiar with it, even if it's just these two lines we can remember.
I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
By William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
How Cold My Toes ... Are Growing
I'm not sure if this
poem has a real title, but most of us are familiar with WInnie the
Pooh's little ditty about how cold his toes are growing in the snow.
Well, I think it deserves a place in National Poetry Day, so here it is!
I'm afraid I'm rather naive at poetry and my favourite has always been Winnie the Pooh, by AA Milne and his Cold Toes Poem:
The more it snows
The more it goes
The more it goes
And nobody knows
How cold my toes
How cold my toes
So what's your favourite? Why not let me know by leaving a comment below.
The Poetry Society
National Poetry Day is organised and promoted by http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk
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