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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 26 August 2012

Roger McGough challenges the notion that 'Happiness writes white' as he begins a new series with a cheering selection of poetry.
There are poems celebrating a sense of freedom in summertime by Elizabeth Jennings and Robert Frost. There's a delicate poem by Norman MacCaig about the beauty of rain and a selection of poems about weddings including a moving and joyful one that Ted Hughes wrote about the day he married Sylvia Plath. With Plath in her pink woollen knitted dress and Hughes beside her in his thrice dyed corduroy jacket, he talks of being subjected to a strange tense: that of the spellbound future.
Even poets not known for their cheeriness, Emily Dickinson and Charles Bukowski have happiness pouring out of them.
There are also poems about the joys of gardens by Kipling and the ancient Chinese poet Po Chu-i, and a beautiful Ethiopian tribal love poem.
The readers are Pippa Haywood, Patrick Romer and Harry Livingstone.
Producer: Sarah Langan.

  • This week's poems

    Small Rain
    by Norman MacCaig
    From Norman MacCaig – Collected Poems
    Publisher: Chatto and Windus

    If we take
    by Charles Bukowski
    From Mockingbird Wish Me Luck
    Publisher: Black Sparrow Press

    If I might be an ox
    by anon
    From The Rattle Bag; An Anthology of Poetry
    Publisher: Faber

    On the Sea
    By John Keats
    From Keats’s Poetry and Prose
    Publisher: Norton

    A Soft Sea Washed
    by Emily Dickinson
    From The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
    Publisher: Faber

    Taking off Emily Dickinson's Clothes
    by Billy Collins
    From Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes
    Publisher: Picador

    The Silken Tent
    by Robert Frost
    From The Poetry of Robert Frost
    Publisher: Jonathan Cape

    Bicycles in Summer
    by Elizabeth Jennings
    From Familiar Spirits
    Publisher: Carcanet

    Carry Her Over the Water
    by W.H.Auden
    From W.H. Auden – Collected Shorter Poems 1927-1957
    Publisher: Faber

    A Pink Wool Knitted Dress
    by Ted Hughes
    From Birthday Letters
    Publisher: Faber

    Married People Going to Work
    by Jenny Joseph
    From Jenny Joseph – Selected Poems
    Publisher: Bloodaxe

    The Chrysanthemums in the Eastern Garden
    by Bai Juyi (Po Chu-i)
    Translated by Arthur Waley
    From Chinese Poems
    Publisher: Unwin Books

    The Glory of the Garden
    by Rudyard Kipling
    From Rudyard Kipling – Selected Poems
    Publisher: Bloomsbury Poetry Classics

    The Cockney’s Garden
    by Edgar Bateman
    From The Oxford Book of Garden Verse
    Publisher: Oxford University Press

    Wild Flowers
    by Christopher Middleton
    From Christopher Middleton – Selected Writings
    Publisher: Carcanet

    Everything is Going to be All Right
    by Derek Mahon
    From Derek Mahon – Selected Poems
    Publisher: Penguin


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