Thursday, March 15

a Poem for Thursday

In The Beginning.

In the beginning
There was
Walter de la Mare,
Robert Louis Stevenson
A.A. Milne

Rose Fyleman was there too
The Oxford Book of English Verse.

And there was a train
In the beginning,
Made out of chairs
Placed in a row.
And children,
Lots of children
As the words got faster.

In the beginning
Words made sense,
And sensibilities were easy to understand.
And that was in the beginning
When words floated around in the air,
And sometimes
Ended up inside my head.

And it was easy
To join them up
One to one
And twos to threes.
And often they joined up so fast
That they tumbled over one another
In joy.

And that was just the beginning.

When I was merely a five year old, my mother took me to a house down the road towards the city. 
That was the very beginning of my relationship with poetry.
I studied every week with this teacher until I was in my early 20s.
He instilled in me a love of rhyme and rhythm.
And also a deeper understanding of why people write poetry.
He had his favourite poets and playrights and I became part of that love.
Ibsen, Frost,Strindberg, MacNiece,Yeats,Whitman as well as the English Romantics .
What a priviledged experience!

This is linked to dVerse Poetics on dVerse.  


  1. oh wow...what a privilege indeed...i just discovered poetry not even two years ago..and still so much to learn...lots of poets i have never heard of..i love the chair train...sounds like the teacher knew how to bring poetry to the kids so that it made sense to them..

  2. This reminded me of the chair 'trains' we made in our house as kids too.
    Lovely read, thanks :)

  3. early reading was all fantasy and sci fi...i did not read poetry until after i started writing it actually...but i know what you are saying...i try to pay attention to the way people phrase things and i might borrow an idea or two...smiles.

  4. Neat.
    Mine were Dickinson
    and Newton.
    Yes, Isaac Newton's
    mathematical "poetry"!

  5. I remember going into the spare room where there was bookcase with all these old volumes of poetry (I don't know why they were there, because no one in the house ever read poetry except for me when I found them). I think I just loved the smell, the feel of the pages, they just seemed to have come from another land...I think that has something to do with my desire to write. Nice poem many memories!

  6. GREAT and mature poem! I specialy like the last stanza, I feel soooooooooo identify...!!
    I would say mine were also Dickinson and Charles Olson, Gertrude Stein and W. Carlos Williams! But the important thing is not only your influences and your previous knowledge that of course is going to be shown, but the fact that you have developed your own way of writting!
    glad to read you!

  7. The sense of time and historical awareness gives this an added dimension. The poem itself is simply delightful, simple in the best possible sense. I studied with an elderly woman when I was young as well. She taught me my love of classical music and history, as well as learning in general. I'd love to hear more of this historical background to your word, as well as more of your poetry!

  8. Wow! Since you were five! That is beyond my comprehension, but it shows in the way your words flow; I caan almost see them appearing on the screen as you effortlessly speak what's on your heart. Beautiful!
    Tell me, though; why do people write poetry?

  9. thankyou for so many encouraging remarks.
    I didn't realise what a priviledge I had had until much later and wish that I had paid a lot more attention to the wonderful man who did all that he could to instil a love of words and rhythm to us all. He was called Mr.Graham Roberts and yes that was how we all addressed him! He lived with his broadcasting wife (chlidren's radio programmes) and cello playing sister-in-law, in a Georgian house in the arts district of Belfast.....happy memories.

  10. Gerry we came to poetry through a somewhat similar way. My grandmother left Ottawa in 1906 went to teachers college then moved three quarters of the way across Canada to Calgary and taught English for 5 years or so before she went to Toronto and taught there.

    When she settled down her wanderlust satisfied she became my introduction to poetry while my older siblings were at school. she would read it to me while dinner for grandpa was cooking. she didn't try to explain anything other than communicate how much she loved what she read and gave me the taste of rhyme and rhythm.

    It took a few years of growing, I did have to learn how to write and spell first but eventually just as she later told me "I knew ye'd be the one to want to write." The only one who encouraged it in me. Old woman lived to 105 and that was long enough to see my first published piece.

    As for the piece you wrote...Yes, yes and yes. Let the words dance and they will be happy no matter the score being played.

  11. What a fabulous and very personal response to the prompt!

  12. fantastic description of your discovery of poetry and how it made you feel. All those classic names and words buzzing around- you made me think olf butterflies made out of words flying around a little girls head! ha ha- love how this verse read- simple (and this was perfect to tell your story) but fantastically stated.

  13. I love the poem. You had me with the listing of writers, exactly the ones my elementary school had us read. I made that train, too. I felt nostalgic all the way through.

  14. I love this one! One of your best! Love you xxxxxx


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