I know this photo was taken in June 1960. I know it was taken in the garden of Dr & Mrs Rodgers in Wawne Road , Sutton in Holderness. I know the dark haired girl is the 13 year old me at the Book stall of our St James Parish garden Party. I can remember books I bought and have them still
- Palgraves Golden Treasury, a lovely 1926 edition (now dropping to bits) with a bright turquoise cover now bearing all the stress marks of meter , and notes from O level English Language revision of 1963
- Chinese Poems translated By Arthur Waley this ed pub 1961 , so brand new it was and cost One shilling
I bought my mother 'How shall I study the Psalms ' and a beautiful 1671 New Testament with hand coloured plates .
I've been thinking a lot about poetry recently, about the beauty of language and the sound of the human voice reading it. Now that I am in my riper years and inclined to look back and remember the joy of discovery 58 years ago I realise that joy of discovery actually carries on and on and on . I ponder about all the children and young people who were in my Classes.
- Belleville JG school 1968 were fed a diet of AA Milne and Spike Milligan by a probationer Miss Bruce. Pupils would cry out again , again for the Rice Pudding poem ,"What is the matter with Mary Jane ?" The Head Mistress ,Miss Irene Cox, caught me reading 'Today I saw a little worm wriggling on his belly' by Spike Milligan from his wonderful Silly Verse for Kids, and told me off in front of 40 children for reading such unsuitable material . So I recited it for the next 40 years to any child who would listen .
- Wimbledon Chase Middle School 1970 were fed a diet of Ted Hughes "Meet my Folks ", and more Spike Milligan .The textbook for the 60s was called "Happenings" , New Poems for Children , with poems by Edward Thomas, Robert Frost , Robert Graves and Walter de la Mare. I loved this text book , it had a picture of the new Coventry Cathedral on its cover , and wonderful black and white photos. I was thrilled when Hilderthorpe Primary had a cull of old books to the skip in 2001 and I retrieved a perfect copy .
- St Martins Primary School 1986 with Year 7 who hated Friday afternoons and were always high as kites , so before they could go home had to recite to me the poem of the week, all done fairly so some learned all verses, some only one ,according to ability and all received a mini Mars bar for trying . This blatant learning by rote would not be allowed 30 years on but I like to think there is a generation of 40 year olds in Surrey who still can say "Tyger! Tyger burning bright,"or my favourite and very hard to learn "He wishes for the cloths of heaven", some learning all the poem and some the last 3 lines, "But I being poor have only my dreams, I spread my dreams under your feet ,Tread softly , because you tread on my dreams" Sublime , Sublime
- Hilderthorpe Primary school to 2007. Here sadly the strict timetable for SATS did not allow the free time for reading and reciting the Poetry I chose , so I had to do it illegally , at the end of the day a 5 minute snatched settling and quieting before the final bell , and usually from Verse and Worse or Spike again . Other times my end of days would be Andersens Fairy Tales told from memory , taking the whole week to do "Big Claus and Little Claus' a great tale .Ten years ago I was beginning to worry that children could no longer sit and listen to language, let alone sit and read quietly for pleasure ,as the new media began to assault the senses. Here I record that the tide had turned DROP EVERYTHING AND READ is now successfully changing acquired habits , but I would like this to be extended to include DROP EVERYTHING AND LISTEN TO POETRY !
So there you have it , Its time for VERSE AND WORSE. I was listening to the Dawn Chorus this morning as only Spring can do . It's better this year as the Herring Gulls are not on next doors roof. The Grass is growing on the allotment and my neighbour Vince has cut my paths and I have done the edges with my new Long handled and angled shears, so I have to check up the correct words from
Der spring is sprung ,
Der grass is riz
I wonder where dem boidies is?
Der little boids is on der wing,
Aint dat absoid?
Der little wings is on der boid!
ANON (NEW YORK) according to Arnold Silcock
I'm going to read The Bleed'n Sparrer next . I know Miss Cox would have hated it.
Lived up a bleedin' spaht
One day the bleedin' rain came dahn
An' washed the bleeder aht.
An' as 'e layed 'arf drahnded
Dahn in the bleedin' street
'E begged that bleedin' rainstorm
To bave 'is bleedin' feet.
But then the bleedin' sun came aht
Dried up the bleedin' rain
So that bleedin' little sparrer
'E climbs up 'is spaht again.
But, Oh! - the cruel sparrer 'awk
'E spies 'im in 'is snuggery
'E sharpens up 'is bleedin' claws
An' rips 'im aht by thuggery.
Jist then a bleedin' sportin' type
Wot 'ad a bleedin' gun
'E spots that bleedin' sparrer 'awk
An' blasts 'is bleedin' fun.
The moral of the story
Is plain to everyone...
That them wot's up the bleedin' spaht
Don't get no bleedin' fun.