National Poetry Day 2013

It’s National Poetry Day and we celebrate with five brilliant British poems.

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Starting off with Fern Hill, the Dylan Thomas poem beautifully read this morning by HRH the Prince of Wales, we celebrate National Poetry Day with excerpts from five British poems.

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

 

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Illustration from Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense © Wikimedia Commons

The Young Lady of Hull by Edward Lear

There was a Young Lady of Hull,
Who was chased by a virulent bull;
But she seized on a spade,
And called out, ‘Who’s afraid?’
Which distracted that virulent bull.

 

Cornish Cliffs by John Betjeman

The seagulls plane and circle out of sight
Below this thirsty, thrift-encrusted height,
The veined sea-campion buds burst into white

And gorse turns tawny orange, seen beside
Pale drifts of primroses cascading wide
To where the slate falls sheer into the tide.

More than in gardened Surrey, nature spills
A wealth of heather, kidney-vetch and squills
Over these long-defended Cornish hills.

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Rudyard Kipling

 

A Charm by Rudyard Kipling

Take of English flowers these
Spring’s full-faced primroses,
Summer’s wild wide-hearted rose,
Autumn’s wall-flower of the close,
And, thy darkness to illume,
Winter’s bee-thronged ivy-bloom.
Seek and serve them where they bide
From Candlemas to Christmas-tide,
For these simples, used aright,
Can restore a failing sight.

 

The Scottish Prince by Carol Ann Duffy

Every summer, I visit the Scottish Prince
at his castle high on a hill outside Crieff.
We dine on haggis and tatties and neeps –
I drink water with mine and the Prince sips
at a peaty peppery dram. Then it’s time for the dance.

Which poem would you pick to celebrate both Britain and National Poetry Day? Tweet us @BritainMagazine using #poetrydayuk

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Written by Martha Alexander // 3rd October 2013

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