If I read a lot as a child, I don’t remember it. So it’s nice when I get little reminders that there was more to me that TV when I find books such as ‘A New Treasure of Poetry’ that my Aunt and Uncle gave to me for Christmas, 1994. I was eight, we must have been writing poetry at school, and the Wondercrump poetry book had sparked my imagination.
Only, I doubt I actually ever read it. I’m not even sure what made 18-year-old Alice keep it when we sold the family home, but here it is 12 years later.
It contains the usual suspects, Larkin, Wordsworth, Blake, Keats, Frost, Plath and Hughes, and to revisit it was a strangely comforting experience. Each time I read poetry I find a new poem that reflects how I am feeling.
“Were I a king I could command content.
Where I obscure, hidden should be my cares.
Or where I dead, no cares should me torment,
Nor hopes, nor hates, nor loves, nor griefs, nor fears,
A doubtful choice, of these three which to crave,
A kingdom, or a cottage, or a grave.”
– ‘Were I A King….’, Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford
Although in this case, I suspect what I have taken from the poem isn’t what the poem was giving me.
I also rediscovered a love of William Blake…
“He who binds to himself a joy
Doth the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity’s sun rise.”
– ‘He Who Binds To Himself A Joy’, William Blake
This compendium of poetry made for a rather lovely afternoon.