Wednesday, October 5, 2011

National Poetry Day UK 6/10/11

Since 1994 National Poetry Day has engaged millions of people with poetry through a range of live events and web-based activities for people young and old throughout the country. Each year the day has a new theme. You can find out more about previous National Poetry Days and the Poetry Society's involvement by looking at the National Poetry Day history pages.
The theme for 2011 - GAMES is a versatile one, taking in not just sport and child's play, but more serious games too, so this can be tiddly winks or cricket, football or darts mind games, games of chance, I spy on the journey home, snakes and ladders in the lounge or blindfold games in the boudoir – stretch your mind and your muscles.  So for National Poetry Day, here are two poems with  the games theme

Skipping Without Ropes
I will, I will skip without your rope
Since you say I should not, I cannot
Borrow your son’s skipping rope to
Exercise my limbs, I will skip without

Your rope as you say even the lace
I want will hang my neck until I die
I will create my own rope, my own
Hope and skip without your rope as

You insist I do not require to stretch
My limbs fixed by these fevers of your
Reeking sweat and your prison walls;
I will, will skip with my forged hope;

Watch, watch me skip without your
Rope; watch me skip with my hope -
A-one, a-two, a-three, a-four, a-five
I will, a-seven, I do, will skip, a-ten,

Eleven, I will skip without, will skip
Within and skip I do without your
Rope but with my hope; and I will,
Will always skip you dull, will skip

Your silly rules, skip your filthy walls,
Your weevil pigeon peas, skip your
Scorpions, skip your Excellency Life
Glory, I do, you don’t, I can, you can’t,

I will, you won’t, I see, you don’t, I
Sweat, you don’t, I will, will wipe my
Gluey brow then wipe you at a stroke
I will, will wipe your horrid stinking,

Vulgar prison rules, will wipe you all
Then hop about, hop about my cell, my
Home, the mountains, my globe as your
Sparrow hops about your prison yard

Without your hope, without your rope,
I swear, I will skip without your rope, I
Declare, I will have you take me to your
Showers to bathe me where I can resist

This singing child you want to shape me,
I’ll fight your rope, your rules, your hope
As your sparrow does under your super-
vision! Guards! Take us for a shower!

Jack Mapanje
Jack Mapanje (born 1944 in Kadango) is a Malawian writer and poet He was the former head of English at the University of Malawi,  and is currently a senior lecturer in English at Newcastle University…….

Children's Games

This is a schoolyard
with children

of all ages near a village
on a small stream
meandering by

where some boys
are swimming

or climbing a tree in leaf
is motion

elder women are looking
after the small

a play wedding a
nearby one leans

an empty hogshead


Little girls
whirling their skirts about
until they stand out flat

tops pinwheels
to run in the wind with
or a toy in 3 tiers to spin

with a piece
of twine to make it go
blindman's-buff follow the

leader stilts
high and low tipcat jacks
bowls hanging by the knees

standing on your head
run the gauntlet
a dozen on their backs

feet together kicking
through which a boy must pass
roll the hoop or a

made of bricks
some mason has abandoned


The desperate toys
of children

imagination equilibrium
and rocks
which are to be

and games to drag

the other down
to make use of

a swinging
with which

at random
to bash in the
heads about

Brueghel saw it all
and with his grim

humour faithfully

William Carlos Williams
In 1883, William Carlos Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey. He began writing poetry while a student at Horace Mann High School, at which time he made the decision to become both a writer and a doctor. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania, where he met and befriended Ezra Pound, Who became a great influence on his writing, and in 1913 arranged for the London publication of Williams's second collection, The Tempers. Returning to Rutherford, where he sustained his medical practice throughout his life, Williams began publishing in small magazines and embarked on a prolific career as a poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright……..

National Poetry Day Official Site
What’s On
The Poetry Society


Kinna said...

Jack Mapanje has written a memoir of his prison years. His poem reflects that experience. It's something - using sports and playing games as protest. I'm going to find a poem to celebrate this day. Thanks for the two and for letting me know about the day. said...

I really like the Skipping Without Rope poem, such defiance and assertiveness. I really like it.

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Kinna, I liked Jack Mapanje's poem & had a look for some more today & I came across a book - The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry includes the likes of Mapanje & Soyinka plus 97 others from 27 countries. Which I aim to get

Hi Lena, it's a powerful poem isn't it.

Anonymous said...

two wonderful choices ,thanks for sharing them Gary I read little poetry so any new names welcome ,all the best stu

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Stu, thanks for your comment, if you want to add some poetry to your collection, you couldn't do better than the trilogy of Bloodaxe books - Staying Alive, Being Alive & Being Human, or if you just fancy some random poetry from around the world mainly contemporary with a little bit traditional try @pomesallsizes on twitter.