Poetry Masterclass


We know the prospect of writing your first poem can be a daunting one, so we asked Mr Gee to give us a poetry masterclass.  Turns out its even easier than baking a cake!

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Mr Gee

We’ve had so many requests for the poems which have been featured and mentioned on the programme, that we thought we would draw up a list so you can discover them for yourselves.

Monday - Love
To His Coy Mistress, by Andrew Marvell
Love After Love, by Derek Walcott
Sonnet II: Time Does Not Bring Relief, by Edna St. Vincent Millay
The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran

Tuesday - War
Base Details, by Siegfried Sassoon
The Soldier, by Rupert Brooke Last Post, by Carol Ann Duffy
Suicide in the Trenches, by Siegfried Sassoon
Anthem of Doomed Youth, Wilfred Owen
Dead Man's Dump, by Isaac Rosenberg
Return to Oasis, by Dennis McHarry
Dulce et Decorum Est, Wilfred Owen Young
Fellow My Lad, by Robert Service
My Boy Jack, by Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday - Bereavement
Miss Me, But Let Me Go, by Edgar A. Guest
Remember, by Christina Rossetti
Afterglow, author unknown
Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden
Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep, by Mary E. Frye
Death is Nothing At All, Canon Henry Scott Holland
Do Not go Gentle Into That Good Night, by Dylan Thomas

Thursday - Places
Eugene Onegin, by Alexander Pushkin
My Heart's in the Highlands by Robert Burns
Lleyn, by J. Glyn Davies
Sea Fever,by John Masefield
Maggie and Milly and Molly and May, by E.E. Cummings
The Watershed, by W.H. Auden

Friday - Children
Beautiful Hands, by Ellen M.H. Gates
Song For a Fifth Child, by Ruth Halburt
Hamilton He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W.B. Yeats
Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll
Now We Are Six, by A.A. Milne
Nod, by Walter de la Mare
The Portrait, by Stanley Kunitz

Poems On A Theme

Each day this week, resident poets Lucy Berry and Mr Gee will write a poem on a theme for the show - we'll be adding them below as we get them.

In the Playground
In the playground you can see
who will be society;
children who will strive and earn
when it gets to their turn
who'll spot their chance and take it -
and those who'll never make it.
Galloping and screaming,
gossiping and dreaming;
all the little children who
will, one day, be in charge of you:
The Darers and Don't-carers.
The Bullies and Not-fairers.
The Snatchers and the Sharers...
...the dancers and green-grocers
the fire fighters and bakers
the bishops and stockbrokers
the doctors and dress-makers
the teachers and the politicians,
prostitutes and lawyers
the cleaners and the nail-technicians,
workers and employers.
Will they grow up seeing how
to run the things we're running now;
life and love and state and law?
Or do it, as we did before,
galloping and screaming,
gossiping and dreaming...

© Lucy Berry

Horizontal Sorrow
Yea though I rest in warmth of bed,
A malevolent alarm clock plagues my head,
It plagues my heart, it plagues my soul,
Demanding I should face the cold,

To face the cold? Not now, Not I!
To leave this duvet? I’d surely die!
For yea, it held me down to sleep,
Maximising togs for heat to keep,

To spurn such joy would be a crime,
For yonder's where the morning lies,
I clutch my pillow with Samson's vice,
That I might still keep hold tonight,

That I might still bring night to life,
That moonlight still excites the sky,
"A few more hours of slack?" say I.
Before I empower my nap goodbye,

But time it waits for no man still,
As room is filled with sonic shrill,
My dream vacates the space I fill,
Sleeps' embrace escapes my will,

That cursed clock; so cold, so cruel,
Whose buzzing mocks this weary fool,
I lay in bed, to await the pain,
Press "snooze"; then go through it all again!

Mr Gee © 2010

The Last Leave
My father as thin, as light, as a last year's leaf,
died in the Spring.
The sun could not quite penetrate
through all the layers of blankets, bloody tubes
and clipboards, graphs and masks,
and plastic gloves and sterilising wipes
and all that ticking machinery
to where he hung on.

I told him:
the Spring has come!
but it hurt him to know
of unseen, tiny leaves, sticky on their twigs,
making a pinkish haze
between the branches of old oaks
lining the many motorways.
I drove those many days
of that last journey.

A thousand miles each week in ups and downs
through greening woods and fields
to that loathed white hospital and back
I drove that Spring
for the death of my father;
to watch him losing his grip,
all strength sapped,
like a last year’s skeleton leaf,
blown away...

and is death more or less than this;
than last leaves letting go their strong old trees
lifted away on a breeze
as light as a last kiss;
as some tired, old pulse ceases its thudding
while the whole, rest of the world
seems budding?

© Lucy Berry

More
My Great Grandfather's only memory of England was that of a Commonwealth soldier,
Helping to clean up London's war-torn streets in 1945,
He would often joke and say that:
Back then, there was more rubble than buildings,
More smog than daylight,
More hunger than hopelessness,
For the smiles of a triumphant nation could never ever truly be rationed,
And that inspired him.

But Victory had borne a heavy price,
And with freedom came an even greater one,
For where do old soldiers go once the battle is over?
No more oppression to fight,
No more lands to liberate,
No more obstacles to overcome,
So once his tour of duty was done, he simply went back to the Caribbean.
Where there was always more sugar cane to cut.

Mr Gee © 2010

Love Comes to Stay
You broke into my house while I was out
and lodged and laughed and cooked and disarranged things.
I find it very hard to tolerate
intruders with the energy to change things.

You cluttered up my home with friends and noise;
stole my entire routine and broke and spoiled it,
wrecked my attempts at dignity and poise,
dismantled old machinery and oiled it.

You heard the song I knew by heart, and learned it,
explored each corner of my home and filled it;
and snatched my dearest prejudice and burned it,
and caught what terrified me most, and killed it.

You hold opinions I don't wish to hear,
make jokes about me which I don't quite get,
break rules, support the cause I least approve,
and fail to see that I'm in charge, as yet.
You barge in without any invitation,
slam doors which I prefer to keep ajar
you go and smash my blessed, slow stagnation.

But, since you’re here, we’ll leave things as they are

© Lucy Berry

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