Hosted by: Margaret Garside and Ida Kramer
Review written by: Ida Kramer
Twelve members and a visitor were welcomed to our Poetry session on Thursday, 22 June to enjoy one another’s favourite poems and to discuss the authors and their works.
We shared several readings of Bush Poetry, such as A.B (Banjo) Paterson’s “The Man from Iron Bark” and “The Travelling Post Office”. Henry Lawson provided another very Australian poem, “When Your Pants begin to Go”. “The Call of the Bush” was another in the Bush Poetry category.
For a change of pace we enjoyed John Masefield’s “Sea Fever”, a poem each one of us could remember almost word perfectly. We turned to Edgar Alan Poe for remarkable poetry with a melancholy theme, inspired by the talking Raven, regretting and mourning for a lost love. Poe uses repetition to great effect. To continue sad memories of the past, we had “Goodbye to the Old Neighbourhood”, about leaving Liverpool and the suburb Dingle. Nora Hallowell was the poet who stirred the memories for many who have left their native land for places like Australia, to start a new life. Gwen Harwood (1920 to 1995) embraces contradictions of human experience; pain, love, life and death, suffering and joy.
For War poetry we heard Kenneth Slessor’s “Beach Burial”. Slessor, who was awarded an O.B.E., was an Australian Poet, Journalist and War correspondent from World War 2.
We also talked of John Keats, the English Romantic poet whose three poems, one being “Ode to a Nightingale”, are considered the finest in the English language. Keats was at first a medical student, but began to write poetry and died young in Italy in 1821.
John Dunn, sometimes called John Dun Scotus, who died in 1308, was the most important and influential philosopher and theologian of the Middle-Ages. His writings are a bit difficult to read, with the Elizabethan spelling and writing.
Our visitor recited from memory Lewis Carroll’s 1872 “Jabberwocky”, that she had learned as a schoolgirl.
Excerpts from the monologue, “The Pigtail of Li Fang Fu”, added a strange foreign touch and we closed with two humorous verses, “When I am an Old Woman, I Will Wear Purple”, (Author Unknown), and Pam Ayres’ “You Made Me Late Again”.
Once again we closed the meeting feeling that we had browsed far and wide over the centuries, language and emotions of the English speaking poets of our world.