National Poetry Day, the world’s greatest celebration of poetry, takes place today, Thursday 6 October. This year’s theme is ‘Messages’; providing everyone with an opportunity to turn ordinary communications into memorable ones, by using their favourite poems to communicate the messages that matter most.
NPD organisers, the Forward Arts Foundation, have worked with MacMillan Children’s Books to nominate 15 poets as National Poetry Day Ambassadors. Their poems have been collected as a free downloadable eBook called, ‘Messages: A National Poetry Day Book’, which is now available online from the link below.
We asked the WCN team to recommend some of their favourite poems and poets for National Poetry Day – a small pool of which is collected below.
A light song of light says thank you
to the paper it is written on –
this most solid evidence of its existence
however thin. Sometimes though,
a light song of light wishes it were written
on material even thinner, the shaft of morning
that slides through a shut window.
A light song of light believes nothing
is so substantial as light, and
that light is unstoppable,
and that light is all.
– Kei Miller
to life and death, house cleaning or
clutter. Dante or an old shirt.
It’s there to cut, but not to chop.
Between the knuckle-bones it’s soft
as butter. Or you picked a leaf
off the road. What is it when it
reaches the sea? The gulls are a
white flap over sprats in the foam.
Call it an episode when they
tumble together to make it
one. The cliff is history. You
throw yourself in where the fish are
thickest. Take hold of a word and
turn it on. Tourbillion.
Wisps, strings, ribbons, lace,
something sustains us in
– George Szirtes
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
– ‘Wild Geese’, Mary Oliver