Poetry Archive 2019

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
Perfect                                                                   Anon
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