The Poetry group meet on the 3rd Friday of each month in Eastwood Library between 12.30-1.30 pm. The contacts for the group are Jenny Ball on 01773 602 347 or Freda Hallsworth on 01773 861 502.
There are about fifteen members in our friendly group and we decide amongst ourselves the theme for our next meeting. Each member chooses a couple of poems on the theme and we take it in turns to read our choices. These can range from well-known works by famous poets to verses written by amateurs, and even some by one of our members. However, it must be stressed that the aim of the group is to read and enjoy poetry. You don’t have to be a poet to come along and share the pleasure of listening to poems and taking part in the lively discussions that can follow. Members pay £1 each meeting towards the cost of the room.
You can be assured of a warm welcome so why not come and join us?
For more information, contact either of the group co-ordinators.
Our next meeting is on March 20th when we will explore two more Nobel Prize-winners -W B Yeats and Rabindranath Tagore. We will also read poems that remind us of a time, place or person.
The topic for our meeting on April 17th is anything associated with Spring and Easter.
On May 15th we will look at another Nobel Prize-winner – George Bernard Shaw, and our topic is poems that start with a question.
Previous meeting reports
February 2020: For the first time we met on the library balcony, where 2 tables had been reserved for us. There were seven members present and the topic this month, as our meeting was close to Valentine’s Day, was “Hope, Happiness and Love”. We touched on a range of emotions whilst reading 22 poems, co-incidentally starting and ending with Elizabeth Barrett Browning, one of our greatest love poets.
We read: Little Cares that Fretted Me by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood, Life is Fine by Langston Hughes, She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron, Birthday by Christina Rossetti, I Never Knew / Fall for Charms /Love Time / Idle Dreams by Joanna Fuchs, Insomnia has had a Bad Press by Char March, Its Odd – Anon, Home Thoughts from Abroad by Robert Browning, My Hearts in the Highlands by Robert Burns, Hope by Emily Bronte, You Make Me – Anon, To Celia by Ben Jonson, It’s all in a State of Mind by Walter D Wintle, Life Worth Living by Christina Rossetti and How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
New members are welcome to join us.
January 2020: There were seven members present and we started to explore poets who have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The first poet we looked at was Rudyard Kipling.
Kipling was born in Lahore in 1865. He became a Nobel prize-winner in 1907 and died in 1936. A detailed article about his life can be found on the Poetry Foundation website http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/rudyard-kipling
After discussing Kipling’s life, we read the following poems : My Boy Jack, Common Form, The Road Through the Woods, If, Four feet, The Power of the Dog, The Glory of the Garden and There is Pleasure in the Wet, Wet Clay.
December 2019: Despite this being our Christmas fuddle, there were only seven members present. Nevertheless this did not prevent us having a most enjoyable meeting. Helen tested our poetic and musical knowledge and we read a small selection of comic and festive poems which included Macavity, The Mystery Cat by T S Elliott and Christmas by John Betjeman.
November 2019: There were only 8 members at this month’s meeting but, even so, we had a lively and interesting meeting. Our topic was ‘Reflections on Life and The Seven Ages of Man’. We read the following 21 poems ranging from the though provoking to those looking at the funnier side of life.
They were: A Farewell to Arms by George Peele; I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood; A parody on ‘Warning’ by Sarah Baker (written for her friend Audrey on her retirement); Home Thoughts from Abroad by Thomas Browning; Sounds Familiar – anonymous; Reflections on Life by Lawrence CH Hiun; 7 Stages of a Woman by Katelyn Murphy; Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox; 7 Ages of Man by William Shakespeare; Remember Me by Christina Rossetti; When you are Old by W B Yeats; You are Old Father William by Lewis Carroll; Apple Blossom by Louis MacNeice; What Do You See Nurse – written by an elderly woman in a nursing home; Do You Believe in the Magic Inside You by Shilow; Future Reflections by Emma Blue; Ye Wearie Wayfarer by Adam Lindsay Gordon; Keep A’going by Frank L Stanton; A 14year old Convalescent Cat in Winter by Gavin Ewart; So We’ll Go No More a Roving by Lord Byron; Childhood by Frances D Cornford.
October 2019: There were 12 members present at this months meeting. This months topic was D H Lawrence. Members were surprised at the large number of poems Lawrence had written and, also, the diversity. These ranged from his poems about love and relationships, many of which are very explicit, to those about nature and society. It was felt that his poems reflected what was happening in his personal life at the time of writing. One member also read two of his letters which appeared to be replies to people asking about the settings of his novels. He painted a vivid picture of the local area and the views from Eastwood, even though he was writing from Mexico and Florence.
The poems we read were: Intimate; The Piano; The Collier’s Wife (one of his dialect poems); Spiritual Woman; Autumn Rain; The English are so Nice; Self Pity; Patience (Suspense); Change of Government; Search for Love; A Full Life; Flapper Vote; Baby Songs 10 months Old; Baby Running Barefoot; All I Ask; Egg Bound Woman and Peach.
Members felt the group could explore Lawrence’s work further and will return to him at a later date. It was also decided that next year they would explore poets who were awarded the Nobel Prize.
The group also appointed a new volunteer to take on the task of collecting the money for the room hire.
September 2019: There were 8 members present. The topics were Money and September/Autumn. The poems we read were
Money by Richard Armour; Money is not everything by Jayvon Snider; Money Madness by D H Lawrence; The Three Fishers by Charles Kingsley; Ten Pence Story by Simon Armitage; The Money Tree by C J Heck and Night Mail (Parody) by Roger Tagholm with apologies to W H Auden.
September by Mary Howitt; Money by Howard Nemerax; Greed by Irwin Mercer; The Song of the Shirt by Thomas Hood; The Cunning Vending Machine by Pam Ayres; Riches by D H Lawrence; from the Wasteland (Parody) by Roger Tagholm with apologies to T S Eliot; To Autumn by John Keats; Money by Philip Larkin and Autumn by W B Yeats.
Friday 19th July: There were ten members at this month’s meeting. There was further discussion about payment of room hire costs and it was agreed that members present at each meeting should pay £1. A member has volunteered to collect and record the money received which will then be passed to the U3A Treasurer ready for when he receives the invoice. It was also agreed that any surplus money will be used for the benefit of the Group with mutual agreement and any deficit will be shared equally between all Group members.
The topic for this month was ‘heartbreak and love’ and, perhaps understandably, some of the poems were very emotional. But there was one by Pam Eyres to cheer us up! These are the poems we read:-
Let It Be Forgotten – Sara Teasdale
Was She Worth It? – Stormy-Courtney
Are You Loving Enough? – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
A Broken Heart – Jenna Tee
Long Distance 2 – Tony Harrison
The Last Battle – Anon
Cling To Me Nigel – Pam Eyres
A Winters Tale – D H Lawrence
When She Is Gone – Byron
Annabella (Farewell To Thee) – Byron
Valentine – John Buller
Donal Og (It Is Late Last Night) -Irish 15th Century love song
Movement Song – Audre Lorde
Beautiful Dreamer -Stephen Foster
The Weeping Willow – Azania Wilson
Love and Hate – Anon
From Friend to Friend – ‘A Dog’
On the Departure Platform – Thomas Hardy
Send Off – Fleur Adcock
Friday 24th June 2019: There were only 6 members at the June meeting – probably due to a U3A visit to Bletchley Park. This prompted further discussion about how we pay for the room hire. On this occasion those present paid £2 each, but it was agreed to discuss further at the July meeting.
The first topic this month was Dylan Thomas and we discussed his short and notorious life. We found that, due to lack of metre, rhyme and/or punctuation, it was difficult to read his poems. They probably need re-reading to understand them better. There are descriptions of family life and the countryside but also references to dying. We read the following:-
· A Child’s Christmas in Wales (excerpt)
· Poem in October
· Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night
· Polly Garter (from Under Milk Wood)
· Fern Hill
· Mary Ann Sailors (from Under Milk Wood)
As this month’s meeting coincided with the Summer Solstice, we also chose “Summer” as a topic and read these poems:
· In That Summer of Loving You Deborah Hawley
· Soon Will the Summer Pumps Come On Matthew Arnold
· The School in August Philip Larkin
Barbara Wigley reminded us that at each solstice a selection of appropriate poems are read throughout the day on BBC Radio 4. You can also catch up with them at BBC Sounds.
Friday 17th May : Members were reminded that we are now charged £10/session to use the library meeting room and it had been agreed that we pay £1.00 each when we attend.
The subject this month was poems that have been set to music. This had proved more difficult than we anticipated to find poems other than such as nursery rhymes.
It was an entertaining meeting as after reading a poem, it was either sung by the more musical of the group or we listened to a rendering on i-phones. These were the poems we chose.
- · My Orchard by Linden Lea Poem by William Barnes and set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams as Linden Lea.
- · War Words and music by Bob Marley
- · A Red Red Rose A traditional song in Scots by Robert Burns in 1794 which is often published as a poem.
- · Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes Based on Ben Johnson’s poem of 1616 “To Celia”. It was subsequently set to music. A notable recording was by Paul Robeson.
- · Trees (Alfred) Joyce Kilmer. Kilmer wrote this poem in 1914. He was killed in 1918 at the second Battle of Marne aged only 31. This poem was also sung by Paul Robeson.
- · Down by the Salley Gardens W B Yeats. We listened to a wonderful recording by Kathleen Ferrier.
- · Windmills of Your Mind The lyrics were by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and sung by Noel Harrison in the opening of the film The Thomas Crown affair.
- · Come Into the Garden, Maud Poem by Alfred Tennyson. Sang by many well known performers including Marie Lloyd.
- · Greensleeves A song from Tudor times with the suggestion that the words were written by Henry VIII for Anne Boleyn.
- · Bobby Shafto A North East England folk song.
- · Jerusalem The poem by William Blake was titled “And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time”. It was set to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916 as the hymn Jerusalem.
15th March 2019
Again we were few in numbers with 8 members present as there was a U3A National Trust group visit on the same day.
Our topic this month was Walter de la Mare (1873-1956). We read 20 of his poems and discussed how varied his work was, from poems for children to quite melancholy works. Among those we read were “The Listeners” and “Someone” and we speculated on whether “Someone” was written from the perspective of being in the house when the traveller came knocking.
This is a link to the Walter de la Mare Society website which is very informative. http://www.walterdelamare.co.uk/4.html
These are the poems we read :-
- · The Listeners
- · Nod
- · Mrs McQueen
- · Mother Bird
- · Nicholas Nye
- · Silver
- · The Bards
- · Bones
- · When the Roses Faded
- · Someone
- · Five Eyes
- · Miss T
- · An Epitaph
- · Alone
- · “Sooeep!”
- · Farewell
- · Snow
- · Full Moon
- · Tired Tim
- · All that’s Past
- Meeting, 15th February 2019:
- There were only eight members as this month’s meeting. Quite a few of our group were away in Llandudno. Nevertheless, it was a lively meeting, including a couple of sing-songs! This month’s topic was “Love” and these are the poems we read:
- · The First Time Percy Came Back Mary Oliver
- · How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43) Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- · Redback love poem Anon
- · Love Is Adrian Hanley
- · The Owl and the Pussy Cat Edward Lear
- · Annabel Lee Edgar Alan Poe
- · Love at First Sight Danielle C Thomas
- · My Love is Like a Red Red Rose Robert Burns
- · Unruly Son Anon
- · Regrets
- · A Subalterns Love Song John Betjeman
- · When You Are Old W B Yeats
- · Beautiful Dreamer Stephen Foster
- § (and vocal renditions by Bing Crosby and Al Jolson)
- · Meeting at Night Robert Browning
- · Shropshire Lad A E Houseman
- · To Celia Ben Johnson
- · My True Love Has My Heart Sir Phillip Sidney
- · Love’s Philosophy Percy Shelley
- · From June to September Wendy Cope
- · Loving Husbands Ogden Nash
- · What Matters on Valentine’s Day Anon
- · She Walks in Beauty Lord Byron
Friday 18th January 2019
The topic to start the new year was Dogs, Cats and other Animals and once again a wide selection of poems were read. Some more serious than others and Pam Ayres was well represented – no less than four of her poems being read by various members of the group.
The Animal Shelter at Gardner’s Lane Pam Ayres
Cats A S J Tessimond
My First Pet Kevin T Pearson
When the Maker….. Anon
A Cats Ageing Sir Alexander Gray
A Dog at Home Pam Ayres
Deer John Drinkwater
Stray Cat Francis Witham
Puppy and I A A Milne
The Tyger William Blake
The Owl and the Pussy Cat Edward Lear
Snow in the Suburbs Thomas Hardy
The Puppy Pam Ayres
The Drowned Spaniel Charles Tennyson Turner
The Gift J M Berry
The Fool who wants a Cat J Luke Migliacci
The Snow Leopard Denis Martindale
The Hedgehog Edith King
The Lion Roald Dahl
The Ballad of Rum Peter R Wolveridge
My Hairy Best Friend Anon
The Singing Cat Stevie Smith
The Terrifying Toaster Pam Ayres
A Satire against Mankind John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
The Hippopotamus T S Eliot
Symbiosis Jill Stevenson
Batty about Bats Philip Ardagh