"Twenty years hence my eyes may grow.....

If not quite dim, then rather so."
Poetry for October, "Twenty Years Hence" by Walter Savage Landor. Couldn't resist it.
I love poetry, don't read a lot of it (who does, nowadays?) but I did do an English degree and studied a lot of nineteenth century poets. There is something so fantastic about being able to quote a whole poem at need. My mother, raised in post-war austerity, is of the generation when schools made you learn poetry and she can reel off whole poems word perfect (sometimes better than she remembers what day it is!) while my brief foray into organised literary criticism got me no further than remembering Blake's Oh Rose (8 incredibly short lines that I once spent a 1 1/2 hour lesson deconstructing. You have to love literature to do that!)

I have bought the 'poem a day' books and read them (not every day, but often) and I do like to read poetry when I can.... but I still fail dismally at knowing a poem. Wish I could learn at least one. Fancy being able to quote Yeats or Byron, Keats or Louis Macneice whenever the occasion rose and not just a line here or there.

What poems do you know? Which would you like to know off by heart?


  1. I used to know a lot, but now only fragments remain. I thin they've been pushed out by the bazillion kids rhymes, songs and stories that I now retain.

    I love Wendy Cope - this is my favourite. And yes, I do know it off by heart.

  2. This is weird, when I go to your blog homepage, this post isn't showing up. I had to click the link in my bloglines for this actual post to see it.
    I love poetry too, but like you, can only remember bits and pieces.

  3. Funny, I was just thinking about poetry the other night as my youngest is taking a poetry class at college -- so not like him! LOL. Anyway, sadly, I don't think I know any poems by heart -- that would be a wonderful goal to learn one. One of my favorites is The Lanyard by Billy Collins. (Makes me cry!) http://home.cinci.rr.com/iwishiwerebuffy/poetry.htm Someday, I'll remember to blog about it!

  4. Yeats, "He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" My absolute, complete and utter favourite. Yes, I know every line (there aren't many of them). We had it as the one and only reading at our wedding.

    I used to be fond of Keats, and Shelley (especially "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings, Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair"), and Tennyson. I made a bit of a pilgrimage to see Keats' grave when interrailing, and the house where he died in Rome. But that was when I was an adolescent so can be forgiven ;-)

  5. I have to say poetry generally leaves me cold but one that moved me to tears was WH Auden's funeral blues which was used in the film Four weddings and a funeral.I think that recited by the right person a poem seems to come to life, which this one certainly did in this scene.

    Gill x


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