It’s difficult to choose one poem above all the others which I have loved for
I have two favourite poems,’Disabled’ by Wilfred Owen and Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 18’ The Owen poem I have used in History lessons with Year 9 pupils after previously having looked at why young men joined up in 1914. This poem shows
My favourite poem is ‘One Day I Wrote her Name upon the Sand’ ,a sonnet by Spenser. It prefigures Shakespeare’s attempts to explore how the poet through his poetry can bequeath immortality to his loved one. On a lighter note we used to holiday in St Ives and on Portminster beach I too used to write on the sand, but use the words’ Leeds United’, hoping to annoy any Manchester United fans.
For a variety of reasons a poem can become one’s favourite. Walt Whitman’s ‘I sing the body electric’ is an amazing, eccentric poem as is Christopher Smart’s ‘I will consider my cat Geoffrey’ both of which I love. Keats’s ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ is another poem I am repeatedly drawn back to for its dense succession of striking ideas and images.Yet another I like for its acute observation captured in a minimum of words is Sylvia Plath’s ‘Morning Song’. Finally, I’ve always enjoyed narrative verse,ranging from Browning’s ‘Pied Piper of Hamelin’, Goethe’s ‘Erl King’,and Lewis Carroll’s ‘Hunting of the Snark’, to Stanley Holloway’s ‘Albert and the Lion’.
I first read T.S.Eliot’s ‘Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ when I was about fifteen and it has remained a favourite ever since.; I can still remember huge chunks.Another favourite is Matthew Arnold’s ‘Dover Beach’,which I thought sounded so modern despite having been written in 1867. Sylvia Plath’s ‘Morning Song’ I love for its ability to capture the joy,uncertainty and apprehension of being the mother of a new-born baby. For anyone with Northern Ireland connections Part 3 of Seamus Heaney’s ‘ Whatever you Say,Say Nothing’ really resonates. It’s brilliant.