Friday, November 13, 2009

Poetry Allowed

We were at the school's in-house final of Poetry Aloud last night. For those who haven't heard of it before, this is a poetry speaking competition, and it always creates great debate in our car on the way home as to who dramatised their poems too much and therefore didn't really 'speak' them. It's always an interesting and moving evening. Interesting because there are always poems that I don't know and am impressed by, and there are always young people speaking them who I maybe wasn't aware that they had that interest or talent. Moving, because there are always poems that move me to tears. Some, like Sea Fever, remind me of my childhood and my father. Some, like Stop All the Clocks just bring me to tears by the sentiment expressed within them. Last night, we heard Seamus Heaney's 'Mid-Term Break' 4 times. Quite fitting really, given the last 2 times. And each time there were tears in my eyes. I have heard this poem before but for some reason last night, one particular line struck me with more force than it had on previous readings or hearings. The line is - Snowdrops and candles soothed the bedside - although strictly speaking it is the end of one line and the beginning of another. Something about the beauty of this image struck me, where before I was just struck by the last two lines and the devastating message they contain.
The other poem which particularly struck me last night was one that I didn't know - BC:AD by U.A. Fanthorpe. It was the set poem for the Junior section of the competition and so we heard it 6 times. Each time was different, but the last 2 lines struck me just because they are beautiful, and the image they conjure up is beautiful. The poem tells the story of how before became after at the moment of the birth of Jesus Christ, and how some farm workers and Persians
'Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven'.
I like that. I like to think that somehow I am doing that too. And that somehow that is part of the message of Christmas and for this time of year - we are walking haphazard by starlight.
Safe Journey everyone :)

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