A Collection Of Snippets From My Favourite Classic Poems…
My most recent essay for my OU Creative Writing Course is to write either a forty-line poem, or a series of poems amounting to forty lines in total. I haven’t studied poetry for eight years since I finished Sixth-Form College (English Literature was one of my A-Level choices), so the idea of revisiting and then writing poetry scared the hell out of me. I decided to try and take some inspiration from some classic poems!
I was brought up on books, so I consulted my trusty bookcase to see if I could find my spark. As luck would have it, I came across my ‘Classic Verse’ book from childhood which I’d recently rescued from my mum’s cellar. A beautiful book, I was surprised at just how well I’d preserved it since my youth. I was such a fan of reading from a young age, it’s such a wonderful thing. Anyway, I got stuck in and remembered just how wonderful and fun poetry really can be, ending up al
So, here are a few poems that mean something or have had some sort of impact upon me:
Now We Are Six By A.A. Milne
‘…When I was five I was just alive.
But now that I am six, I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be six now and forever.’
A.A. Milne perfectly encaspulates everything about the childish mind. A beautiful innocent idea of finding the perfect moment in time, and being able to stay there forever, just because you want to.
If By Rudyard Kipling
‘If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much.
If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a man my son.’
Rudyard Kipling’s If is quite possibly one of my all-time favourite poems. His words of virtue and inner-strength ring so true with myself and my personal character, this poem is great to refer to to find that strength within.
If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking By Emily Dickinson
‘If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting Robin unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.’
Emily Dickinson’s positive poem reinforcing that the way to inner peace and happiness in life is by being a good person.
The Raven By Edgar Allen Poe
‘Once upon a midnight dreary,
While I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious
Volume of forgotten lore…
While I nodded, nearly napping,
Suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping,
Rapping at my chamber door.
“Tis some visitor”, I muttered
“Tapping at my chamber door…
Only this and nothing more.”
THE most intense, interesting and intelligently written poem I have ever read. Poe quite literally takes you along on his journey of despair and desperation at the Raven’s stubborn unchanging response of ‘nevermore’. It’s a very gripping read.
Invictus By William Ernest Henley
‘…I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.’
Inspirational words. I really needn’t say much more.
Macavity The Mystery Cat By T.S. Eliot
‘…Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
For he’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square-
But when a crime’s discovered, then Macavity’s not there!’
I adore Eliot’s use of alliteration and fast-paced rhyme within this poem. It’s fun to read and a very good poem to ignite the poetry spark within children as the character is a naughty cat!
The Owl And The Pussy-Cat By Edward Lear
‘…Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! Too long we have tarried
But what shall we do for a ring?
They sailed away for a year and a day,
To the land where the bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
With a ring at the end of his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose…’
Bong-trees? Piggy-wigs? Everybody knows the poem of the Owl and the Pussy-cat and everybody loves it. The clever use of imaginative words and charming rhyme and repetition make this one of my all-time favourite poems.
Leisure By W.H. Davies
‘What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows…’
This poem has become quite fashionable to use in Television Adverts, but despite all of this, it hasn’t lost a drop of its charm. A sad poem which to me detailing our lack of ability to enjoy the world around us.
Witches’ Chant from Macbeth By William Shakespeare
‘Round about the cauldron go:
In the poisoned entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Sweated venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first in the charmed pot.
Double Double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble…’
I’ve written some of my own poetry, as I find it a great way to come to terms with my anxiety.