I'm not an expert on poetry. I'd like to be more educated in the genre, but in the back of my mind, there's always this feeling that poetry is something slightly elitist and almost too complicated for an average person like myself, to understand. Also, I think that having to recite poems such as 'Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred Lord Tennyson and the colossal 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in my school days, just put me off the genre.
However, there is a poetry book which I love.
I bought me copy of 'The Nation's Favourite Poems', in about 2004, after I watched the television series presented by Griff Rhys Jones. I love this book, because there is so much variety in it.
The book has all kinds of different poetry, from the stuff I was forced to learn at school, plus silly poetry and more contemporary works. Also what I like about this book, is that you don't have to read it from cover to cover. It's possible to open a page at random and discover a completely new poem each time.
I dug this book out today and it has awakened my interest in poetry, so if you have any poetry recommendations, I'd be interested to hear them. In the meantime,I'll leave you with one of my favourite poems, which could describe me as I'm now, not just when I get older!
'Warning' by Jenny Joseph
'When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've got no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay or rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.'
Other poems I love from this book are:
'Toilet'- Hugo Williams
'This be the Verse'- Philip Larkin
'Remember'- Christina Rossetti
'Chocolate Cake'- Michael Rosen
'The Raven'- Edgar Allan Poe