Friday, 24 July 2009

National Poetry Day 2009

The Well Read Kitty informs us that today is National Poetry Day in New Zealand. Montana has been sponsoring this literary event since 1998. The first time I was aware of it was at a former workplace when a number of poems popped into my inbox one Friday from various staff members, encompassing a wide range of topics, styles and moods. That practice was, sadly, stamped out in future years once staff were prohibited from sending blanket emails to all other staff members. However, I fondly remember the poetic surprises of that day.

To be honest, while I am struck by the beauty of words and can happily read prose for hours on end, I struggle with poetry (apart from song lyrics). Try as I might, I end up expending unreasonably amounts of energy my the effort to decipher the poetic language, the meter, and whatever hidden meaning I'm sure is lurking behind the words I read at face value. I end up incredibly frustrated (at myself, more than anything else) and it usually doesn't end well, lol.

But here is a poem I've enjoyed since my childhood, possibly because I first heard it as a beautiful piano piece played by Rowlf the Dog (of The Muppet Show fame) and sung by Kermit's little nephew, Robin. It was written by A A Milne and is short and sweet. It doesn't really mean anything; it is loosely about being happy with indecisiveness. That sums me up perfectly at the moment.

Halfway down the stairs, by A A Milne

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair where I sit.
There isn't any other stair quite like it.
I'm not at the bottom,
I'm not at the top,
So this is the stair where I always stop.
Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up, and isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery, it isn't in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head:
"It isn't really anywhere! It's somewhere else instead!"
Care to share your favourite poem for National Poetry Day today?


Kelly said...

Oh I love that poem too! So simply sweet.

I'm not a big fan of poetry myself either, although I used to write screeds of angst riddled stuff as a teenager :S But I agree song lyrics are great poetry and that would make my fav NZ poem the incredibly talented Mr Neil Finn.

Shammickite said...

I loved AA Milne too, I loved his Childs Garden of Verses, I think I still have my childhood copy somewhere.
My favourite poem is "Seagulls" by E J Pratt, a Canadian poet. I found this poem when I was a child in England, and learned it by heart, beacuse to me it described the sea birds that I saw every day on the beach. Little did I know that I would eventually live in Canada, although no longer near a beach.

donna said...

I love AA Milne!
My favorite poem is by ee cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

~JarieLyn~ said...

Very upbeat. I see why you like it.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Café Chick!

For as much as I enjoy reading and writing poetry, I have to admit that there is some poetry that I can't get my head round. And it's not just the poetry. It's also how poetry that I can't get my head round could be so revered.

Take William Carlos Williams' Red Wheelbarrow, for instance. Now this jumble of words leaves me as cold as a wheelbarrow left out in the rain:


So much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white


It has been analysed and critiqued more than any other poem I know of.

If you can make anything of this please show me how your holding your mouth, or whatever, so that I can share your ecstasy.

Catchya later

Pretty Little Pictures said...

Ooh, i didn't know - its also maori language week this week too!! Yay for finding more nz bloggers too :)

pinkapplecore said...

thank you for the comment, and I too like to watch those kind of stories.

Lovely post!

Sab said...

That is so sweet!