Thursday, 8 October 2009

National Poetry Day

Hurrah for National Poetry Day! I hope you enjoyed the clip of Maggie Smith and Kenneth Williams reading Betjeman's Death in Leamington...Betjeman, Williams and Smith all together on Parky, now that's what I call good telly. You know, I'm the kind of mother who sends the kids to school with a poem in their bag even if their teachers have not specifically asked that the class do so. Their teachers must love me.

Well, anyway, I was gobsmacked to learn that T. S. Eliot was voted Britain's favourite poet this year. He's hardly accessible is he? My hunch is that a lot of people saw that excellent poetry series on BBC4 and half fell in love with Robert Webb and his exploration of Eliot's Prufrock...Let us go then you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherised upon a table;" ...he wasn't half good at first lines "April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire"...good stuff!

Well for your delectation here are the final lines of Choruses from the Rock (X). Enjoy!

In our rhythm of earthly life we tire of light. We are glad

when the day ends, when the play ends: and ecstasy

is too much pain.

We are children quickly tired: children who are up in the

night and fall asleep as the rocket is fired; and the day

is long for work or play.

We tire of distraction or concentration, we sleep and are

glad to sleep,

Controlled by the rhythm of blood and the day and the

night and the seasons.

And we must extinguish the candle, put out the light and relight it;

Forever must quench, forever relight the flame.

Therefore we thank Thee for our little light, that is

dappled with shadow.

We thank Thee who hast moved us to building, to finding,

to forming at the ends of our fingers and beams

of our eyes.

And when we have built an altar to the Invisible Light, we

may set thereon the little lights for which our

bodily vision is made.

And we that Thee that darkness reminds us of light.

O Light Invisible, we give Thee thanks for Thy great



~~louise~~ said...

I'm sure the teaches do love you Dulce. Lovely post.
Happy Poetry Day to you:)

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

Gorgeous post. Thank you. For me, every day is National Poetry Day.

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Louise
Ooh, I'm not sure about that. We did homework this moring in a rush (7:30 am) so I don't know if I'll get the mum of the year badge! I'm glad you like the poetry.

Hi Tessa
Yes, for me too!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I guess it's possible that Eliot got voted favorite poet because he was one of the few poets folks could name (or the only one they'd recently seen on TV, as you point out), but I'd argue he is oddly accessible (aside from those little flippets of Greek). I fell in love with him when I was 15. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I loved how he said it. Happy National Poetry Day!


Gretchen Joanna said...

Is the poem/prayer by you? It's wonderful! Tells so aptly the "tenor" of our days...I will keep it and reread it.
But the third line from the bottom, is that not a typo? Did you mean "thank" instead of "that"? Just want to be sure of what I am keeping.
Thank YOU very much.

Anonymous said...

Wilfred Owen and Longfellow are my favourite poets. I quite like some Yates...however, I don't understand half of what he goes on about.

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Frances
Hey, do you claim Eliot as an American? We claim him as our own. Do you consider Auden to be an American - he had citizenship, didn't he? It's not surprising that nobody wants Ezra Pound.

Hi Gretchen Joanna
Ooh, I wish! The poem is by TS Eliot, and is a bit obscure and late. He wrote a lot of religious poetry after his conversion to Christianity. They're really worth a read.

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Sarah
I like Yeats too. His early stuff, romantic stuff (I'm soppy). Now, Longfellow, hmm an American poet. I'm not good on American poets other than Whitman, Plath and Dickenson. I'll have to have a read. Wilfred Owen, I adore.

Gumbo Lily said...

I do like some of the nature poetry by Wordsworth and especially Christina Rossetti for her children's poetry. I prefer poems that are a bit silly instead of serious and some of the American poets are good at that -- John Ciardi, James Whitcomb Riley, Gelett Burgess. I have a hard time following the serious stuff.

Happy National Poetry Day!

Gretchen Joanna said...

If you try some Longfellow, be sure to read some of his poems aloud. His meter is different, and oh so rich.

Anonymous said...

Yeats, I meant Yeats. I can't spell. LOL.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Actually, come to think of it, I do claim Eliot as an American. Did Britain's favorite poet have to be British? If so, you'll need a re-vote. I would LOVE to claim Auden as one of our own, but just can't do it. I don't know if he had citizenship, though I think he lived in the States for a time. Still, I can't think of him as anything other than British.

I'd also be happy to claim Keats and Blake, though I suppose not Hughes. Wonderful poet, but a bit hard on the ladies.


Anonymous said...

Missing your posts! Sent you an email. Hope all is well.