Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Poetry

Poetry today and an absolutely awful day to go with it.  Although a little bit warmer this was offset by a sharp wind blowing, absolutely teeming rain now and then and a generally awful day.  Only six of us there but what lovely poetry we had.

For me my favourite was those chosen by friend W, who read poems which in some way were connected with war (this being our nearest Poetry to the Remembrance services to recall 100 years since the end of the Great War).

Some of them were such a reminder for me of my father.   Born in the  late 1880's he was at school when a lot of poetry was learnt by heart and throughout his life he had a great love of poetry and could remember poems off by heart.   Some of these W read today - notably 'The Battle of Blenheim'   In many ways it is a shame that the learning of poetry by heart has more or less completely died out - a little of it in the curriculum
would not come amiss in my opinion. 

J read 'The Highwayman' another poem he knew by heart and would recite given the opportunity.
They don't write 'em like that any more.

I read part of Basil Bunting's 'Briggflats' - a poem I love and which I have read at our Poetry meetings many times before.   It is such a dismal day and the poem evokes Spring and the May blossom in its opening lines.   Briggflats is a Quaker Meeting House in Sedbergh (where I go now and again to meet my God -daughter for lunch) and going into Sedbergh from this direction means that one crosses the River Rawthey - the poem opens with lines about the river.   If you don't know it do Google it - and indeed Briggflats - both worth a look.
 

19 comments:

Joan (Devon) said...

We had English lessons every day and were also given a poem to memorise for our English homework once a week. Our English teacher, Miss Clarkson, was older than other teachers in the school and I remember she came from Scarborough and never married because her intended died in WW1.

The Highwayman is one of my favourite poems of all time.

Terra said...

My dad too could recite poetry by heart in a big and dramatic voice. Poems like the ones you mention and by Robert Service, etc. I liked to listen to him and wish that was still taught. Even in my day it was no longer part of school.

Gwil W said...

I had to learn Walter de la Mare - The Listeners. It was one of my favourites in my schooldays. I'll shall revisit it on YouTube. Thanks for the jolt!

angryparsnip said...

We do not have potery, oral stories, art, music, dance or cursive writing in many school now.

cheers, parsnip and badger

Chris Elliot said...

I used to love "The Highwayman" as a child and will have to revisit it now that you have reminded me of it. It is a very moving poem.

wherethejourneytakesme said...

My two girls used to love my DH reciting the Night Mail by WH Auden to them instead of the usual bedtime story - they still remember it now.

Bonnie said...

I did google Basil Bunting's 'Briggflatts' and found a video of him reciting it which I very much enjoyed. Thank you for recommending it! I have always loved most all poetry but it does not seem to carry the popularity that it used to which is a shame.

Hildred said...

I recall the Highwayman from studying it in Grade 5 - what I suppose now would be called Middle School. I was very taken with it, - thought the Highwayman very romantic, and he still goes riding, riding, riding up to the old inn door...when I think of the poetry I learned in school. What DO they teach in school these days?

thelma said...

Extraordinary poem 'Briggflats', so long as to be almost a short story, yet there is such sadness in contemplating the words. I also remember the poem weekly recited to the class when I was a child.

Derek Faulkner said...

Had a look at "Briggflats" Pat but it just didn't appeal to me, sorry.
Got up this morning (Thurs) to our sixth morning of rain and winds lashing against the windows.

Librarian said...

We still learned poems and song lyrics by heart at school, but nowhere near the amount that was taught the generations before mine. The ones I learnt back then are still with me, but overall I must admit I am not much of a poetry person.
Your poetry afternoons always sound wonderful, and what better way to spend such a dismal day than with your friends!

Rachel Phillips said...

Poetry still forms part of GCSE English Lit so it is still taught. Fear not those who are worrying. I have many favourite poems but one that always stays with me from school days is Matthew Arnold's Sohrab and Rustum.

Mild and windy here.

Heather said...

Glad you had your poetry afternoon to offset the awful weather. I must admit that I can't remember much poetry from my school days but have since tried to educate myself and have spasmodic readings myself. The war poems are so poignant and evoke so many emotions. One of my favourites is Kipling's 'My Boy Jack'.

walking in beauty carmarthenshire said...

I to can remember the Highway man and the Ancient Mariner also quite a lot of Hiawatha.

Rachel Phillips said...

I just looked at, and listened to some of, Briggflats. He didn't waste words, did he? Where three would do, three you got. I am afraid I didn't like it, and found it dreadfully depressing.

Countryside Tales said...

I used the Highwayman to help my students practice giving class presentations. Its such a brilliant, evocative piece of writing, you can't help but get caught up in the story telling.

Derek Faulkner said...

Thanks Rachel, I was beginning to think I was gonna be the odd one out. "Poem in October" by Dylan Thomas is my all time favourite.

Joanne Noragon said...

I like associating places with literature, whether actual or only in my imagination.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for your comments. Sorry some of you didn't care for Briggflats - I just love the way it evokes the tough life the old travelling masons had as they went from village to village. I also think that first verse is wonderful and it is that I think of when I cross the River Rawthey - the fact that the bull,the river and the water running over the pebbles all together form a madrigal.