Friday 24 April 2015

Five On Friday

Hello, thank you for calling in, you are all welcome.  Today I am again joining in with Amy's Five On Friday so do pop over there and see who else is joining in.  This week my Five are a bit different: they are poets.  The small town of Much Wenlock has an annual poetry festival this weekend and I am going tomorrow with my parents.  The town will be full of poetry – to listen to, to read and to write, some serious and some great fun, some both!  I know that some people are not interested in poetry, but most of us like songs, which are simply poems set to music, and I reckon most of us can remember a few nursery rhymes, which are simple poems.  I can’t say that I like or understand all poems, but here are five poets whose work I do like.


Andrew Motion
I have to begin with Sir Andrew Motion: the first time I went to one of his readings, four years ago, he said that poetry shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions, it should be part of everyday life, “like breathing”.  That was a revelation to me, the fact that poetry isn’t necessarily about grand things, that it can be about the ordinary, the domestic, the everyday things, and since that time, I have sought out poetry to read.  One of the wonderful things about it is that if you don’t have enough time to read a whole chapter of a novel, you have time to read a whole poem.  That day, Sir Andrew read “The Death of Harry Patch” and moved me to tears – if you don’t know who Harry Patch was, he died in 2009 at the age of 111 and was the last surviving soldier who fought in the First World War.  You can read the poem here or better still, listen to Sir Andrew's mellifluous voice reading it here.

 A.A. Milne
Apart from nursery rhymes, I think Milne’s poems are the first I can remember being aware of – they must certainly have been the first I actually read - and I treasure my old copies of When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.  What is the matter with Mary Jane?

Andrew Marvell
I studied the Metaphysical poets, a group of English poets who lived in the 17th century, for A-Level English and the poem I liked best was Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress.  The protagonist is attempting to seduce a woman on the basis that “we should get on with it now because we might be run over by a bus tomorrow” (ok, I know that they didn’t have buses then – I am paraphrasing) and as a hormonal seventeen year-old I found it a bit shocking, but now I think it’s really quite sexy.  You can read it here if you want to, don't be put off by the fact that the poem is 350 years old, there's no difficult language. 
A.E. Housman
Well, I had to include Housman, didn’t I?  His most famous work, A Shropshire Lad, is not one poem but a series of 63 poems and I have only read a few of them.  The theme is mortality and, like Marvell, the need to seize the day because we don’t know how long we have left, and it became a bestseller during the years of the Second Boer War (1899-1902), young men going off to war and possible death, and was again popular during the First World War (1914-1918).  I like the references to the places I know, and I find some of the poems very moving.  Here is The Lads In Their Hundreds, read by Imelda Staunton and set to music by Show of Hands.  (If you would prefer a shorter, simpler Housman poem, have a look at my previous post.)  It's so poignant. 
Image result for the lads in their hundreds show of hands

David Whyte
I had never heard of David Whyte until I saw him at last year's Poetry Festival, when he asked for his fee to be partially paid in bacon from the renowned local butcher, and I found him absolutely mesmerising.  He is my poetry crush and I am really looking forward to attending his reading tomorrow.  You can find him on Facebook here where he posts some of his poems and beautiful photographs.  I wonder if he'll go for bacon again this year?

So there you are, five poets to get me in the mood for tomorrow, when I shall be listening to Michael Rosen, David Whyte and Jonathan Edwards with my lovely Ma and Dad. 
Don't forget to pop over to Love Made My Home to see who else is sharing Five On Friday, and THANK YOU Amy for hosting this party.

See you soon.

Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x















  1. In our house we love AA Milne and quote him almost daily x

  2. What a lovely post, hope you have a great time at the poetry festival.

  3. This is a thought-provoking post. I hadn't heard of most of the poets mentioned, but they do sound interesting.
    Thank you for sharing and enjoy the festival! x

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this. I love poetry and just do not read enough of it. It feels almost like a lost art - especially in my country. Thanks for some great reading ideas!
    Happy weekend to you! xo

  5. I hope you have a lovely time at the festival. I used to read some poetry when I was younger. Your previous post have inspired me to look up my copy of 'The Shropshire Lad' and now I'd like to re-read some poems from Margaret Atwood's 'Eating Fire'. X

  6. I remember studying the Marvel poem as part of either 'o' or 'a' level when we did some of the Metaphysical poets. I haven't come across David Whyte so must look out for him. Hope you have a lovely day at the Poetry Festival:)

  7. You have given me lots to read about with these poets. Have a wonderful time at the festival.

  8. I knew of some of these poets and not others, it is nice to learn about new people! I always think of Housman when I see cherry blossom because of his poem Loveliest Of Trees. Thank you so much for joining in. I hope that you have a great weekend! xx

  9. I hope you enjoy the poetry festival, it sounds like an interesting day out. I haven't heard of David Whyte, I need to google him now and you will have to let us know if he asks for bacon as part payment this time! xx

  10. Oh wow! Why don't I know about this?!? I don't live too far away from Much Wenlock either, I am definitely going to put it on my calendar for next year. I'm a little bit envious now, I love Michael Rosen. Have a wonderful time xx

  11. Great Five on Friday, thanks for sharing, I used to read a lot of poetry you have reminded me how much I loved it.

  12. What an interesting Five on Friday! I am a poetry novice and still struggle with this form of literature. I have a class test on Tuesday, discussing a yet unknown poem... I am not prepared but thanks for reminding me, I kind of pushed this to the back of my mind.

  13. I enjoyed your Five On Friday post. I do love reading poetry but cannot pretend to understand all of them. I just love the rhythm of poems and especially enjoy countryside poetry.

  14. Have a lovely time at the poetry festival. It's great to discover new blogs through Five on Friday. X

  15. I hope that you had a great time at the festival. The weather was much better down here than we expected. Jx