5 poems to help you celebrate National Poetry Day


I love poetry, and have done so for almost 40 years now. I don’t read much of it nowadays sadly, time seems to get in the way of such fun and any reading i do is usually confined to novels so I felt a blog post celebrating poetry on this day was in order.

National Poetry Day was founded in 1994 by William Sieghart, and has engaged millions of people across the country reading, writing and listening to poetry.

It celebrates its 21st year this year.

I’ve chosen 5 poems by very varied poets ranging from the 19th century to the present day. All of these are by poets i hold dear. I’ve cut a few of them down and just used a couple of my favourite verses. Some are fairly obvious choices but I hope you enjoy them all and it may make you want to read more by them.

1. Holyday by Emily Bronte
A LITTLE while, a little while,
The noisy crowd are barred away;
And I can sing and I can smile
A little while I’ve holyday!
Where wilt thou go, my harrased heart?
Full many a land invites thee now;
And places near and far apart
Have rest for thee, my weary brow.
There is a spot ‘mid barren hills
Where winter howls and driving rain,
But if the weary tempest chills
There is a light that warms again.
The house is old, the trees are bare,
And moonless bends the misty dome,
But what on earth is half so dear,
So longed for as the hearth of home?
The mute bird sitting on the stone,
The dank moss dripping from the wall,
The garden walk with weeds o’ergrown,
I love them–how I love them all!
Yes, as I mused, the naked room,
The flickering firelight died away,
And from the midst of cheerless gloom
I passed to bright, unclouded day–
A little and a lone green lane
That opened on a common wide;
A distant, dreary, dim blue chain
Of mountains circling every side;
A heaven so clear, an earth so calm,
So sweet, so soft, so hushed an air
And, deepening still the dream-like charm,
Wild moor-sheep feeding everywhere–
That was the scene; I knew it well,
I knew the path-ways far and near
That, winding o’er each billowy swell,
Marked out the tracks of wandering deer.
Could I have lingered but an hour
It well had paid a week of toil,
But truth has banished fancy’s power;
I hear my dungeon bars recoil–
Even as I stood with raptured eye,
Absorbed in bliss, so deep and dear,
My hour of rest had fleeted by
And given me back to weary care.
Emily Brontë
2.  The Old Vicarage, Grantchester by Rupert Brooke
Ah God! to see the branches stir
Across the moon at Grantchester!
To smell the thrilling-sweet and rotten
Unforgettable, unforgotten
River-smell, and hear the breeze
Sobbing in the little trees.
Say, do the elm-clumps greatly stand
Still guardians of that holy land?
The chestnuts shade, in reverend dream,
The yet unacademic stream?
Is dawn a secret shy and cold
Anadyomene, silver-gold?
And sunset still a golden sea
From Haslingfield to Madingley?
And after, ere the night is born,
Do hares come out about the corn?
Oh, is the water sweet and cool,
Gentle and brown, above the pool?
And laughs the immortal river still
Under the mill, under the mill?
Say, is there Beauty yet to find?
And Certainty? and Quiet kind?
Deep meadows yet, for to forget
The lies, and truths, and pain? . . . oh! yet
Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?
Rupert Brooke
3. A Shropshire Lad by A E Housman

          Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
          Is hung with bloom along the bough,
          And stands about the woodland ride
          Wearing white for Eastertide.

          Now, of my threescore years and ten,
          Twenty will not come again,
          And take from seventy springs a score,
          It only leaves me fifty more.

          And since to look at things in bloom
          Fifty springs are little room,
          About the woodlands I will go
          To see the cherry hung with snow.

4. 2 poems by Pam Ayres (they are only short ones)

The Wildlife Garden

The wildlife in our garden,
It fills me with delight,
The Sparrowhawk attacks by day,
The muntjac comes by night,
The fox is round the dustbins,
The rats they are not pretty,
The squirrel's on the peanuts
And i'm moving to the city.


There once was an iceberg set in the cold seas,
And penguins lived on it in two's and in three's,
The iceberg emitted occasional creaks,
And the penguins they waddled with smiles on their beaks.

But soon other penguins arrived at the rock,
Creating a vast insupportable flock,
The food was exhausted, the filthy rock stank,
"Sod this for a lark!" said the iceberg,
And sank.

5. Q by Roger McGough

I join the queue
We move up nicely.

I ask the lady in front
What are we queuing for.
‘To join another queue,’
She explains.

‘How pointless,’ I say,
‘I’m leaving.’ She points
To another long queue.
‘Then you must get in line.’

I join the queue.
We move up nicely.

I hope you enjoy reading and maybe writing lots of poetry today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: