Rollercoaster Mum: Happy National Poetry Day - why you should read poetry..

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Thursday, 3 October 2013

Happy National Poetry Day - why you should read poetry..

Today is National Poetry Day - #poetrydayuk and I am rather partial to a poem or two - albeit of the simpler more childlike kind so I give you two poems - one from many years ago that evokes a bygone age of steam trains and actual letters (as opposed to email) and another that celebrates last year's fabulous Olympics. They both have a great rhythm that evokes what the poems are about. The Night Mail is a particular favourite as it is a poem I have loved from childhood. Every child should have poems read to them and read poems - they are not boring but can be full of feeling and pace. So go on, go and find a poem to read to your child or grandchild, niece or nephew tonight, and introduce them to the wonder of poetry.

The Night Mail by W H Auden

This is the Night Mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner and the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient's against her, but she's on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily as she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.

Birds turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from the bushes at her blank-faced coaches.
Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;
They slumber on with paws across.
In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in the bedroom gently shakes.

Dawn freshens, the climb is done.
Down towards Glasgow she descends
Towards the steam tugs yelping down the glade of cranes,
Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces
Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen.
All Scotland waits for her:
In the dark glens, beside the pale-green sea lochs
Men long for news.

Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from the girl and the boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or visit relations,
And applications for situations
And timid lovers' declarations
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled in the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Notes from overseas to Hebrides
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, adoring,
The cold and official and the heart's outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.

Thousands are still asleep
Dreaming of terrifying monsters,
Or of friendly tea beside the band at Cranston's or Crawford's:
Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well-set Edinburgh,
Asleep in granite Aberdeen,
They continue their dreams,
And shall wake soon and long for letters,
And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?


London 2012 by Ciaran Powders

Pulses racing, 
Athletes pacing.

Flags flapping, 
Crowds clapping.

Hearts pounding,
Starting-guns sounding.

Swimmers swimming,
Glasses brimming.

Cameras flashing, 
Cyclists crashing.

Adrenalin pumping,
Jumpers jumping.

Anthems playing,
Banners swaying.

Medals gleaming,
Children screaming.

London's waiting, 
We're celebrating.....

LONDON 2012!

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