Saturday 22 September 2012

Poems I love (1)

My recent post 'Whatever happened to the Dead Poets?' reminded me of my quiet love of poetry. Misplaced somewhere in the frequent house moving of the late-twentieth/early-twenty-first centuries is my copy of Palgrave's Golden Treasury. I want it back. It has to be that edition, published many times there are different poems in different editions; and I want back my original hard-backed gold/orange copy (that I think belonged to one of my Grandparents). Failing that I'd settle for the inferior navy-blue replacement also MIA.

A lot of my poetry (happily) is stored from early youth (and apparently can't be destroyed along with the myelin). Even more odd, my father never struck me as a big reader, but a few of the poems came from him!

Most of the poems I can recite are either short, or only a few verses; nearly all of them have rhyme and meter. I did start studying English A-level but came to a parting of the ways when my critical analysis of one of the modern English poets received a response from my teacher eleven words longer than the submission I counted.

Here's one from my Dad. Written in 1895 by Gelett Burgess; 'The Purple Cow':
I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one
 Easy to remember, easy to quote, and amusing for all ages poor old Burgess came to detest somewhat the verse and a couple of years later published the equally memorable follow up; 'Confession: and a Portrait Too, Upon a Background that I Rue':
Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow"—
I'm Sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you Anyhow
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!