Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reading Favourite Poems

Last week myself and Paddy, another member of our Writers' Group, offered our services to a local retirement home as voluntary poetry readers. We spent more than half an hour reading "favourite poems" to a group of residents last week and again this week. I was quite apprehensive about this - What poems do you read? How well will they be received? Will they be remembered?

I shouldn't have worried. I brought along two collections - the recent Favourite Poems we Learned in School by Thomas F Walsh and The Ideal Book of Poetry selected by Rev J A Kingston CSSp published in 1915. This latter is a collection of 100 poems starting with Shakespeare's Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind and ending with A Cradle Song by Colum.

Our eclectic selection went down very well. I began with I Remember I Remember by Thomas Hood and included a few Yeats numbers. We had one request from a listener - for I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by Wordsworth which is in the Ideal Book so request immediately granted. The poem which got the greatest reaction was the one that began: Up the airy Mountain, Down the rushy glen - The Fairies by William Allingham.

This gig is going to be a weekly one for the next month or two so many more favourite poems have to be dusted off and read.

3 comments:

Emerging Writer said...

Lovely idea, Michael. I read an article on poetry as therapy for Alzheimer's sufferers. Anyway, Suggest you try children's poems particularly Robert Louis Stevenson.

Michael Farry said...

Thanks EW, I immediately googled and found this site: http://www.alzpoetry.com/ Nice list of poems there. Also good idea on RLS - I remember "Dark brown is the river, golden is the sand . . . " from my school days.

BarbaraS said...

Great idea - people always remember the ones they learned in school, and it's a good way to keep the ould brain muscles still active.