Thursday, 29 March 2012

After the political posturing, some real poetry

Once we got the political posturing out of the way at last night's poetry-reading event (see previous post), it proved to be an excellent evening, featuring a host of superb stuff -  including three of the most beautiful poems in the English language. I’ll start with Richard Burton reading Edward Thomas’s lovely “Adlestrop”:

Here’s Robert Frost himself reading “The Road Not Taken”

Tom O’Bedlam is the alias of a chap who has uploaded many of his poetry readings on You Tube. Here he is, reading Sonnet 29, “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”:

There's something very old-worldy and JB Priestly-ish about that voice.

We also had Browning, Kipling, Housman, TS Eliot and John Donne.

I contributed the two sections from Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology – “Reuben Pantier” and “Emily Sparks” – which I wrote about here.

One of the women who do a great job organising the event read out “Happiness” by Raymond Carver, which I also enjoyed. (You can listen to it here.) I don't know if it's good poetry, really - but it certainly captures a mood:

So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it. 

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