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I think they're inflicting this on GCSE students in the same way that we got forcefed Seamus Heaney, so a generation will grow up hating it beyond words.

It was also one of the Poems on the Underground, which is where I first saw it.

Prayer by Carol Ann Duffy

Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child’s name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio’s prayer –
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.  


Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Robbie Burns To a Mouse always impresses me.

This always cheers me up too ( Edgar Marriott)

I'll tell you an old-fashioned story That Grandfather used to relate,

Of a joiner and building contractor; 'Is name, it were Sam Oglethwaite.

In a shop on the banks of the Irwell, Old Sam used to follow 'is trade,

In a place you'll have 'eard of, called Bury; You know, where black puddings is made.

 

One day, Sam were filling a knot 'ole Wi' putty, when in thro' the door Came an old feller fair wreathed wi' whiskers; T'ould chap said 'Good morning, I'm Noah.'

Sam asked Noah what was 'is business, And t'ould chap went on to remark,

That not liking the look of the weather, 'E were thinking of building an Ark.

'E'd gotten the wood for the bulwarks,

And all t'other shipbuilding junk,

And wanted some nice Bird's Eye Maple To panel the side of 'is bunk.

Now Maple were Sam's Monopoly; That means it were all 'is to cut,

And nobody else 'adn't got none; So 'e asked Noah three ha'pence a foot.

'A ha'penny too much,' replied Noah 'A Penny a foot's more the mark;

A penny a foot, and when t'rain comes, I'll give you a ride in me Ark.'

But neither would budge in the bargain; The whole daft thing were kind of a jam, So Sam put 'is tongue out at Noah,

And Noah made Long Bacon* at Sam In wrath and ill-feeling they parted, Not knowing when they'd meet again,

 

And Sam had forgot all about it, 'Til one day it started to rain.

It rained and it rained for a fortni't, And flooded the 'ole countryside.

It rained and it kept' on raining, 'Til the Irwell were fifty mile wide.

The 'ouses were soon under water, And folks to the roof 'ad to climb.

They said 'twas the rottenest summer That Bury 'ad 'ad for some time.

The rain showed no sign of abating, And water rose hour by hour, 'Til the only dry land were at Blackpool,

And that were on top of the Tower.

 

So Sam started swimming to Blackpool; It took 'im best part of a week.

'Is clothes were wet through when 'e got there, And 'is boots were beginning to leak. 'E stood to 'is watch-chain in water, On Tower top, just before dark,

When who should come sailing towards 'im But old Noah, steering 'is Ark.

They stared at each other in silence, 'Til Ark were alongside, all but,

Then Noah said: 'What price yer Maple?' Sam answered 'Three ha'pence a foot.' Noah said 'Nay; I'll make thee an offer, The same as I did t'other day.

A penny a foot and a free ride. Now, come on, lad, what does tha say?'

'Three ha'pence a foot,' came the answer. So Noah 'is sail 'ad to hoist,

And sailed off again in a dudgeon, While Sam stood determined, but moist.

 

Noah cruised around, flying 'is pigeons, 'Til fortieth day of the wet,

And on 'is way back, passing Blackpool, 'E saw old Sam standing there yet.

'Is chin just stuck out of the water; A comical figure 'e cut, Noah said: 'Now what's the price of yer Maple?' Sam answered, 'Three ha'pence a foot.'

Said Noah: 'Ye'd best take my offer; It's last time I'll be hereabout;

And if water comes half an inch higher, I'll happen get Maple for nowt.'

'Three ha'pence a foot it'll cost yer, And as fer me,' Sam said, 'don't fret.

The sky's took a turn since this morning; I think it'll brighten up yet

Edited by Bearman
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Ron Banks

Bears and Barrow

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My dad conducts a choir, and their concerts alternate songs with poetry readings.

He always includes something by William McGonagall. :biggrin:

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Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. (Susan Ertz)

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3 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

 

He always includes something by William McGonagall. :biggrin:

Nooooooooooooooooooo! ?????


Four legs good - two legs bad

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Like others have said I struggle with reading poetry; I can never seem to master the rhythm and timbre of the writing. They always come across much, much better when read, preferably by the original writer. I do enjoy listening to poetry being read though. I'm not all that familiar with the old masters of the art described here, but do really enjoy some of the more contemporary writers. Benjamin Zephaniah, Lemn Sissay, Henry Normal and John Cooper Clarke. Speaking of which I am going to see Henry Normal and John Cooper Clarke in a couple of weeks time. Henry Normal is recording a new BBC R4 show, a Normal Nature which I've been lucky enough to get a ticket for, then back home to see John Cooper Clarke on the Friday in Liverpool.

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"it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it."

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3 hours ago, Bearman said:

Robbie Burns To a Mouse always impresses me.

 

How could I forget about Burns?!  His poetry just works for me, his mixture of "normal" poetry and contemporary (for the time) political commentary poetry did a rare thing with poetry in that it made me think.

I used to refer to our two cats using Burns' clips, the "wee sleekit cowrin timrous beastie" was a nervous cat we rescued, and the "great chieftain o' the pudding race" was a cat that tended towards the chubbier side of cat sizes.

Then there's the political ones that just need a bit of amendment to be relevant today. I've made a single amendment to the closing section of this one, you can just feel the bitterness radiate off that last line.

But pith and power, till my last hour,
I'll mak this declaration;
We're bought and sold for hidden gold-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" - Mark Twain

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8 hours ago, tim2 said:

Me too. I also know "Anthem for Doomed Youth" and "Futility". I throw in Siegfried Sassoon's "The General" too.

“Good-morning, good-morning!” the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
“He's a cheery old card,” grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
 
But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

 

Never heard that one before.  This one takes a different slant on it.

 

The Responsibility by Peter Appleton

I am the man who gives the word,
If it should come, to use the Bomb.

I am the man who spreads the word
From him to them if it should come.

I am the man who gets the word
From him who spreads the word from him.

I am the man who drops the Bomb
If ordered by the one who's heard
From him who merely spreads the word
The first one gives if it should come.

I am the man who loads the Bomb
That he must drop should orders come
From him who gets the word passed on
By one who waits to hear from him.

I am the man who makes the Bomb
That he must load for him to drop
If told by one who gets the word
From one who passes it from him.

I am the man who fills the till,
Who pays the tax, who foots the bill
That guarantees the Bomb he makes
For him to load for him to drop
If orders come from one who gets
The word passed on to him by one
Who waits to hear it from the man
Who gives the word to use the Bomb.

I am the man behind it all;
I am the one responsible.

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On the Brexit thread there has been at least one reference to The Second Coming by Yeats, which seems appropriate

I’d add The Hollow Men by TS Eliot, which seems to capture the precarious and liminal state we’re in


English, Irish, Brit, Yorkshire, European.  Citizen of the People's Republic of Yorkshire, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the European Union.  Critical of all it.  Proud of all it.    

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3 hours ago, Futtocks said:

My dad conducts a choir, and their concerts alternate songs with poetry readings.

He always includes something by William McGonagall. :biggrin:

I remember watching Billy Connolly on telly reading The Tay Bridge Disaster during a blizzard some years ago.

Mentioned that McGonagall didn’t like publicans because “the first man to hit me with a plate of peas was a publican.”  No idea why it could have happened more than once ?

Some great leads on new reads, thanks everyone!

(amongst the seriousness of some of these great poems, Jabberwocky is always good relief).

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2 hours ago, Griff9of13 said:

Like others have said I struggle with reading poetry; I can never seem to master the rhythm and timbre of the writing. They always come across much, much better when read, preferably by the original writer. I do enjoy listening to poetry being read though. I'm not all that familiar with the old masters of the art described here, but do really enjoy some of the more contemporary writers. Benjamin Zephaniah, Lemn Sissay, Henry Normal and John Cooper Clarke. Speaking of which I am going to see Henry Normal and John Cooper Clarke in a couple of weeks time. Henry Normal is recording a new BBC R4 show, a Normal Nature which I've been lucky enough to get a ticket for, then back home to see John Cooper Clarke on the Friday in Liverpool.

How to Eat a Poem
by Eve Merriam (1916 –1992)
Don’t be polite.
Bite in,
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that
may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.
You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.
For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away.
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1 hour ago, CanaBull said:

(amongst the seriousness of some of these great poems, Jabberwocky is always good relief).

There's a theory that's been around for a while now, that 'Jabberwocky' was written to be recited in a broad Scouse accent. There's definitely something to it.

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Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. (Susan Ertz)

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1 hour ago, Steve May said:

On the Brexit thread there has been at least one reference to The Second Coming by Yeats, which seems appropriate

I’d add The Hollow Men by TS Eliot, which seems to capture the precarious and liminal state we’re in

The Second Coming 

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst   

Are full of passionate intensity.

 

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   

The darkness drops again; but now I know   

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

 

Edited by Phil

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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28 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

There's a theory that's been around for a while now, that 'Jabberwocky' was written to be recited in a broad Scouse accent. There's definitely something to it.

Can’t read it or say it my head any other way now, thanks for that.  I think. ??

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15 minutes ago, CanaBull said:

Can’t read it or say it my head any other way now, thanks for that.  I think. ??

The second verse especially - we need to get John Bishop to record it!

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Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. (Susan Ertz)

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2 hours ago, Phil said:

The Second Coming 

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst   

Are full of passionate intensity.

 

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   

The darkness drops again; but now I know   

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

 

The last line is missing:

"And then the Brexit was upon us!"

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Topical I suppose but also quite moving 

 

The New Colossus

BY EMMA LAZARUS

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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Along These Lines by Hugo Williams

 And so you cry for her, and the poem falls to the page 
As if it knew all along that what we make of ourselves we take 
From one another's hearts - tearing and shouting until we learn 
How awkwardly, upstairs and behind shut doors we are born 
Already owing interest on what we have borrowed from the world 


Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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mary had a little lamb

she kept it in a bucket

and everytime the lamb escaped

the sheep dog tried to …………… round it back up.


the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence but the crows are just as black

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Mary had a little lamb

Its fleece was black as soot

Everywhere that Mary went

Its sooty foot it put


English, Irish, Brit, Yorkshire, European.  Citizen of the People's Republic of Yorkshire, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the European Union.  Critical of all it.  Proud of all it.    

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There was a young woman named Rhoda,

Who kept an illicit pagoda,

Whose halls and whose walls

Were festooned with the balls

And the tools of the fools who bestrode her.

Peter O’Toole from his autobiography.

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Jorge Luis Borges - The Other Tiger

A tiger comes to mind. The twilight here
Exalts the vast and busy Library
And seems to set the bookshelves back in gloom;
Innocent, ruthless, bloodstained, sleek
It wanders through its forest and its day
Printing a track along the muddy banks
Of sluggish streams whose names it does not know
(In its world there are no names or past
Or time to come, only the vivid now)
And makes its way across wild distances
Sniffing the braided labyrinth of smells
And in the wind picking the smell of dawn
And tantalizing scent of grazing deer;
Among the bamboo's slanting stripes I glimpse
The tiger's stripes and sense the bony frame
Under the splendid, quivering cover of skin.
Curving oceans and the planet's wastes keep us
Apart in vain; from here in a house far off
In South America I dream of you,
Track you, O tiger of the Ganges' banks.

It strikes me now as evening fills my soul
That the tiger addressed in my poem
Is a shadowy beast, a tiger of symbols
And scraps picked up at random out of books,
A string of labored tropes that have no life,
And not the fated tiger, the deadly jewel
That under sun or stars or changing moon
Goes on in Bengal or Sumatra fulfilling
Its rounds of love and indolence and death.
To the tiger of symbols I hold opposed
The one that's real, the one whose blood runs hot
As it cuts down a herd of buffaloes,
And that today, this August third, nineteen
Fifty-nine, throws its shadow on the grass;
But by the act of giving it a name,
By trying to fix the limits of its world,
It becomes a fiction not a living beast,
Not a tiger out roaming the wilds of earth.

We'll hunt for a third tiger now, but like
The others this one too will be a form
Of what I dream, a structure of words, and not
The flesh and one tiger that beyond all myths
Paces the earth. I know these things quite well,
Yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me
In this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest,
And I go on pursuing through the hours
Another tiger, the beast not found in verse.

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Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. (Susan Ertz)

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"Days" by Philip Larkin

What are days for?

Days are where we live.   
They come, they wake us   
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:   
Where can we live but days?
 
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor   
In their long coats

Running over the fields.

 


"I am the avenging angel; I come with wings unfurled, I come with claws extended from halfway round the world. I am the God Almighty, I am the howling wind. I care not for your family; I care not for your kin. I come in search of terror, though terror is my own; I come in search of vengeance for crimes and crimes unknown. I care not for your children, I care not for your wives, I care not for your country, I care not for your lives." - (c) Jim Boyes - "The Avenging Angel"

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IS IT FUNNY, by Aalif

Is it funny

that completion is watching

incompletion right now?

 

Is it funny

that silence is watching

noise trying to shush itself?

 

Is it funny

that the finishing line

is watching the race unfolding

of a runner that never existed?

 

It would be

if there was someone

to laugh.

 

 

 

Edited by Mister Ting

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Timothy Winters'

Timothy Winters comes to school With eyes as wide as a football-pool, Ears like bombs and teeth like splinters: A blitz of a boy is Timothy Winters.

His belly is white, his neck is dark, And his hair is an exclamation-mark. His clothes are enough to scare a crow And through his britches the blue winds blow.

When teacher talks he won't hear a word And he shoots down dead the arithmetic-bird, He licks the pattern off his plate And he's not even heard of the Welfare State.

Timothy Winters has bloody feet And he lives in a house on Suez Street, He sleeps in a sack on the kitchen floor And they say there aren't boys like him anymore.

Old Man Winters likes his beer And his missus ran off with a bombardier, Grandma sits in the grate with a gin And Timothy's dosed with an aspirin.

The welfare Worker lies awake But the law's as tricky as a ten-foot snake, So Timothy Winters drinks his cup And slowly goes on growing up.

At Morning Prayers the Master helves for children less fortunate than ourselves, And the loudest response in the room is when Timothy Winters roars "Amen!"

So come one angel, come on ten Timothy Winters says "Amen Amen amen amen amen." Timothy Winters, Lord. Amen

Charles Causley

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"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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