As children I think we all enjoyed nursery rhymes, a very basic fun form of poetry that helped us learn when we were young. A lot of these rhymes have a lot of history behind them such as “Ring a Ring o Roses” was about the plague and a lot of them had fun actions to go with the rhyme such as “Round and Round the Garden Like a Teddy Bear” I still hate/love to be tickled to this day! I remember when I was really young, I had a massive, baby pink hardback book which had loads of nursery rhymes in it. I don’t think I still have it but I can remember exactly what it looked like and I remember I loved reading it and looking at all the fun illustrations. I don’t think I particularly had a favourite nursery rhyme as a child but ones that stick in my mind are “Mary Mary Quite Contrary, “Little Miss Muffet” and “Humpty Dumpty”. I don’t have any children of my own but I do have a little niece, when she is old enough I will be sure to read her some of my favourite nursery rhymes, and keep the magic of them alive.
SCHOOL YEARS – PRIMARY
The poetry that really stood out for me as a child was nonsense poems, Spike Milligan’s “On the Ning Nang Nong” had me in fits of giggles, Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” was a lyrical jibberish nonsense that I loved and whilst reading anything by Roald Dahl I loved all this little poems within each creative, fun story he told. Out of all the poems in school “On the Ning Nang Nong” is bringing back the most memories for me, I remember sitting in a particular classroom listening to Mr Spry read this out to us and we were all laughing at how ridiculous it was. Such a great poem for children.
On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
and the monkeys all say BOO!
There’s a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang
And you just can’t catch ’em when they do!
So its Ning Nang Nong
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning
Trees go ping
Nong Ning Nang
The mice go Clang
What a noisy place to belong
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!! eavy inside.
SCHOOL YEARS – SECONDARY
From the fun nonsense poetry of Primary School then came the long winded, dull poetry of higher education, the studying and the analysing and the highlighting and the thinking! There was no more sitting in a classroom giggling at silly poems, now it was time for the “heavy stuff”. Pulling apart poetry like I was dismantling a child’s lego house brick by brick piece by piece analysing every word, every syllable every metaphor until the poetry had no meaning left at all, it was just words on a page and it was frustrating. Secondary school took all the fun out of poetry for me. I studied the lengthy prose poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson, not my cup of tea at all! I also studied William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience. I actually own a copy of this, however in school I did not enjoy it at all. My favourite poem, which I can recite off by heart would be “The Tyger”
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
I’m slightly ashamed to admit that during my late teenage years and early 20s I don’t think I came across any poetry or read any poetry at all. Nothing significant is coming to mind from my years at university, which seems like a shame.
I currently work at a Funeral Directors as a Graphic Designer. On a daily basis I create the Orders of Services for funerals and I come across poems quite a lot. There are many generic “Funeral Poems” that a lot of people have such as “Don’t Stand At My Grave And Weep” or “He/She Has Gone” I hadn’t really come across any of these poems before until working here, many of them touching and a nice reading to have at a funeral especially if it’s a non-religious funeral. Since working here I have also read many beautiful poems that family members or loved ones have written to say at the funeral. A few of these have made me well up, I think poetry is even more beautiful when there is a lot of raw and real emotion behind it.
Recently I have been getting in touch with my inner poet and written some nice poems for family members and loved ones for difference occasions. For example I designed my sister a Mother’s Day Card and write a poem in the perspective of her daughter Mayla. I shall share a few lines of that poem here…
Happy First Mother’s Day,
I promise to be a good girl today.
Thank you for being the best mum,
Even when I have a real stinky bum.
Thank you for letting me play all day long,
Taking me music man and singing me songs…
I have also written a poem to go with my boyfriends birthday present, I can’t share any of this as it’s not his birthday for a few more weeks so don’t want him reading it. I’ve really enjoyed creating poems for my loved ones, especially when they are are shocked and surprised when I tell them it was me who wrote them. I think writing poems for people is really special and a nice keep sake, it also lets me be creative in a different way. I would like to expand my poetry skills and write more when I can, maybe a bit more creative instead of just writing poems for birthdays and christmas, though if you need a poem for your cousins wedding I’m the girl to ask (wink wink).
Until writing this I didn’t realise how much poetry had shaped my life, though I still feel my poetry knowledge is very limited, I would have no idea what poets to read or if there are any amazing new poetry books out on the market. If anyone would like to suggest any to me I would be really grateful. Also let me know what your favourite poets or poems were growing up. Please get in touch I would love to chat, thanks for reading. Katie x