Friday, 19 April 2013

Short and Sweet.

One of my father's favourite sayings.

I have been busy compiling and running off a hundred quiz papers for our local Nature Reserve.  That coupled with buying the wrong ink cartridge for my computer has made me running late and rather frustrated.   And I do want to watch 'Have I got News for You' in a quarter of an hour (one of my favourite programmes).

However, I do want to just say that Richard Morrison in today's Times says that very few folk under the age of 35 have ever heard of Thomas Gray and heard Gray's Elegy.   My father could recite it from beginning to end, having learned it at school.   And the fact that several famous writers chose lines from it as titles of their books (Far from the Madding Crowd for example) suggests that Gray was very much read until fairly recently.

I am not sure whether I learned about it at school or at my father's knee - I suspect the latter as he was a great reader and reciter of poetry.   But Elegy is such a beautiful poem and such a picture of village life in those times and it does seem a shame that poems like that are no longer part of our heritage unless we happen to come from a family where poetry is deemed important. 

In fact, when I think about it, is poetry important in schools at all these days?  I understand that even Nursery Rhymes are discouraged in many schools now, whereas I was taught at Teacher Training College of their importance in the teaching of rhyming words.  I suppose that unless a child is studying English Literature in General and Poetry in particular then no poetry will appear in the curriculum.  Oh dear, that makes me despair of the way education is going.  Everyone  needs some poetry in their life. 

7 comments:

MorningAJ said...

I find that extremely sad. I don't know what I'd do without poetry. (I can recite the first verse of Gray's Elegy... does that count?)

Country Gal said...

Same goes for the pen to paper none of the newer generation will know how to write eventually as computers take over or the feel of book in hands . I still like a book in my hands and pen to paper . It is all now a dieing breed as is rhymes , poetry and even the lords prayer in schools . It is all a shame . Have a good day !

Cloudia said...

Yes, poetry used to be considered a litmus of culture. Chinese officials were promoted based on their lovely verse. . . .perhaps we are blind to the newly developing culture?


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Heather said...

Gray's Elegy was one of my father's favourites too Pat. As for nursery rhymes - I think they are regarded with suspicion by today's teachers of very young children. My children had all left school twenty years ago but by then, apart from Shakespeare, all the authors they studied seemed to be quite modern to me Maybe the cycle will turn.

Dave King said...

I learnt Gray's Elegy at school. We learnt a lot of poetry by heart - not all of it of the highest quality, I regret to say, but I have never regretted the fact that we learnt it. Gray's Elegy still resonates deeply with me.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for visiting.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Most schools in Scotland seem to get their visiting poets, though I'm guessing memorisation is out and rhyme not particularly emphasised