Today is National Poetry Day 2014, and perhaps fittingly for the centenary year of the First World War, this year’s theme is ‘Remember’.
Certainly at The Reader Organisation there are many poems we’ve read over the years – and from week to week in our shared reading groups – that remain particularly memorable. Everyone can recall the opening to I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth, or perhaps Leisure by William Henry Davies (‘What is this life if, full of care,/we have no time to stand and stare’). On this National Poetry Day, Cambridge University is launching The Poetry and Memory Project, which is investigating experiences of poetry learning and how poetry not only interacts with memory but can contribute to the ways in which we think about and perceive the world. You can find out more about the three year long project here: http://www.poetryandmemory.com/
At The Reader Organisation we can testify to the importance of poetry for stimulating memory and helping us to think about ourselves and the world around us in new and sometimes challenging ways. From schoolchildren learning classic poems for the first time to people with dementia listening and interacting with verses from their childhood, poetry has something to unlock in everyone.
As part of the celebration of this day, people from all over the UK (and beyond) are being asked to ‘think of a poem’. Which poem is most memorable to you, and for which reasons? It could be something cherished for years, or otherwise something you came across just recently. You can share them on Twitter via the hashtag #thinkofapoem
And here’s a poem that sticks in the memory for us at TRO – and it’s short enough that you may even be able to remember it by heart:
Below the surface-stream, shallow and light
Below the surface stream, shallow and light,
Of what we say and feel — below the stream,
As light, of what we think we feel, there flows
With noiseless current, strong, obscure and deep,
The central stream of what we feel indeed.