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Poetry Please

What is poetry? It is many things to many people. It can make you laugh, or cry, tug at your heartstrings or stiffen your resolve. There is no absolute definition, but we know poetry is more than just a group of meaningful words; it has the ability to arouse a deep, emotional response in the reader.

A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day

This the original title of the poem that has become better known as a song: “Over the River and Through the Wood.” It’s the most famous poem by Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880), a women’s rights activist. She was also the author of “The Frugal Housewife”, a book aimed at poorer housewives who didn’t have servants (the vast majority of women in the world). It was an attempt at a scientific approach to housekeeping and cooking, focussed on how to save money and time. By 1930, the full title had become: “The American Frugal Housewife, Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy.” Continue reading

Words by Helen Hurst

This month’s poem has been written by Helen Hurst who lives in Bowdon and has just written her first book. Helen always wanted to write but felt like she never had anything to say, until now. Helen has self-published her eBook ‘A day with OCD (not that I have it)’ on where the first few pages of the book can be previewed for free. Helen also has 10 review copies available for free (in return for a review) which can be requested by contacting her @he1enhurst on Twitter or at More information can be found at Continue reading

In Flanders Fields the Poppies Grow

This poem was first published anonymously in the London magazine ‘Punch’ in December 8th, 1915. It was an instant hit. The author is Dr. John McCrae, a Canadian doctor, formerly of the Royal Victoria Hospital at Montreal, who served with No. 3 Canadian General Hospital in France. It was written in early May 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres. Dr. McCrae continued to serve until overworked and demoralised, he died of pneumonia on the 28th of January, 1918, at age 45. Continue reading

I see the Boys of Summer

Dylan Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer born in Swansea, Wales in 1914. He left school at 16 and became a journalist for a short time. Although many of his works appeared in print while he was still a teenager, it was the publication of “Light breaks where no sun shines”, in 1934, that caught the attention of the literary world. He became popular in his lifetime and remained so after is premature death in New York in 1953. In his later life he acquired a reputation, which he encouraged, as a “roistering, drunken and doomed poet”. Continue reading

Charge of the Light Brigrade

Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1809 – 1892, was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire and began writing poetry at an early age, publishing his first work when he was just sixteen. Tennyson went on to write many poems about famous events in English history. Prince Albert was a patron of Tennyson’s work and in 1850, when William Wordsworth died, appointed him Poet Laureate. Continue reading

A Smuggler’s Song

One of our readers was stimulated to send us Rudyard Kipling’s ‘A Smuggler’s Song’ after seeing the recent BBC dramatisation of Daphne Du Maurier’s classic, Jamaica Inn. Many grown-ups still remember ‘A Smuggler’s Song’ from their own childhood, and can often recite lines from it, especially the second verse. Continue reading


John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 – 1892) was an influential American Quaker poet and ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. He was strongly influenced by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Highly regarded in his lifetime, he is now… Continue reading