Tag Archives: National Poetry Day

John Clare- ‘My Early Home’ NPD#2

My Early Home

Here sparrows build upon the trees,
And stock-dove hides her nest:
The leaves are winnowed by the breeze
Into a calmer rest;
The black-cap’s song was very sweet;
That used the rose to kiss;
It made the paradise complete:
My early home was this.

The redbreast from the sweetbrier bush
Dropt down to pick the worm;
On the horse-chestnut sang the thrush,
O’er the house where I was born.
The moonlight, like a shower of pearls,
Fell o’er this ‘bower of bliss’,
And on the bench sat boys and girls;
My early home was this.

The old house stooped just like a cave,
Thatched o’er with mosses green;
Winter around the walls would rave,
But all was calm within;
The trees are here all green again,
Here bees the flowers still kiss,
But flowers and trees seemed sweeter then;
My early home was this.

John Clare (1793-1864)

I have long loved this poem by John Clare, and it was made sweeter for me when I heard the beautiful setting Gordon Tyrrall made for it. WordPress will not let me post the little movie I made of it, but I do urge everyone to get a copy of Gordon’d Clare CD, A Distance from the Town. It is stunning.

John Clare was very attached to his home in Helpston, and was terribly homesick when he moved three miles away, writing a heartbreaking poem called ‘The Flitting’. I am still working on my John Clare book for Greenwich Exchange.

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Filed under Education, John Clare

National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day is almost here, except it is so successful it has turned into National Poetry Week, or even month. And I love that it happens so close to my birthday: it feels like poetry has a birthday close to mine. There are so many great events going on round the country that there is bound to be something for everyone, and even just sitting at home reading poetry is fantastic, if you can’t get out to anything. There’s over 2000 years of poetry to choose from.

The Poetry Society has a wonderful director for NPD, Jo Bell, who is passionate about sharing poetry with everyone. There are many goodies on the Poetry Society website. But I thought it would be fun if I posted a poem a day on this year’s theme, HOME. And invited others to post their favourite quotations about HOME as well. So I am opening up my blog to all my readers, come on, share.

A few things I am doing this week:

Tuesday sees me leading my first day for The National Education Trust (Able Writers) in Stocks Green Primary in Kent. I will be trying to teach them how to write good poetry. I am hoping to be taken on as one of their writers, so fingers crossed for me please.  I am taking Elizabeth Bishop along to help me, via her exquisite poem, ‘The Fish’.

Wednesday is back up North to lead a process drama on the sinking of The Titanic. This is at Denton Library from 6-8pm. It’s usually a very moving experience and some wonderful poems have come out of it in the past. Each participant gets a ticket to sail, and follows the story of a real life passenger. The final poem uses the voice of that passenger. Many were lost and it’s in the lap of the gods whether you survive, so I do end with a debriefing. I promise it will be fun.

The Ship of Dreams became the stuff of nightmares

Thursday, the actual day, sees me in Lichfield, where I will be taking part in their festival by touring local schools with my Salt children’s poetry book, The New Generation. Entertaining 100 children at a time for 45 mins will be a challenge. It takes me back to the Bees Knees events a bunch of us did back in the nineties, led by madcap Gary Boswell, when we did events all over the country with our best-selling anthologies The Bees Knees and The Bees Sneeze. Some of those poets are still friends today.

Friday, back home and starting my once a month evening classes: Creative Writing and Creative Reading. I haven’t taught for the WEA for a long time and it will be nice to get back to it. The course is only £36 and will culminate in a anthology and a reading for the participants.

It’s all a far cry from when I was teaching, and reading poetry to my classes as well as running workshops for year 7 and a whole school poetry competition. Not that that wasn’t great fun as well!

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Filed under Children's Poetry, Education, poetry, Salt, Writing challenges