Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Of poems and puppies



We are all about the poetry here at the moment. The two bigger boys have to learn a poem over the Easter break from a selection of ten. It has reminded me how I do love poetry. It's one of those things that sometimes slips between the cracks of time and gets forgotten, but really shouldn't. I have been reading Deep Work by Cal Newport, which recommends uninterrupted downtime. A little poetry is just the thing.

Anyway, the poems are lovely. The biggest boy reduced me to tears with lines from a couple of war poems over the lunch table. Words put together in such a way that our hearts are torn open. A few lines that somehow capture the emotion and the horror and the experience of it all.

Here's a little of Rupert Brooke's The Soldier, by way of an example.

If I should die, think only this of me;
  That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
  In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,         5
  Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's breathing English air,
  Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

'In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;' Perfection. That wasn't one of the choices, just something he'd learned previously. 

One of the selection was T S Eliot's Macavity: The Mystery Cat which the littlest boy also wants to learn. He adores learning poems as well, he did Jabberwocky for a school recital a while back. Something about the rhythm of the words. There's a little magic in it all I think. I have ordered him the edition of Eliot's Old Possom's Book of Practical Cats illustrated by Axel Scheffler as a little treat. He's been enjoying Benjamin Zephaniah's Talking Turkeys!  as well - 'Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas' Cos turkeys just wanna hav fun', love it. There's a poem for everyone out there. 

In other news. The biggest boy has taken up basketball and knocked some vital pipe or other which goes into the back of the house and now there is water dripping out of the boiler.

The middle boy broke his glasses and possibly his finger yesterday on only the first day of the hols.

The littlest boy fell over on both days.

I walked through John Lewis with them today. There were some divine delicate pink shutters. I exclaimed over them. The biggest boy said that they'd be broken within five minutes in our house. I fear he is right. Everyone around here is very heavy on things if you know what I mean. Even the dog. My cushions are honestly an absolute disgrace. But as the biggest boy says (and Charlie Brown too I believe), happiness is a warm puppy, which will have to make up for it all. On the subject of which, he will be one on Thursday. What did we ever do without him? He chewed the trim off of one of my fancy Christmas tea towels this morning. Let's not dwell on why I'm still using the Christmas tea towels in March. They have snowflakes on so they haven't been wildly out of place.

I shall try and capture a nice birthday shot of Bertie on Thursday. We'll go on an extra good walk, maybe with a chum, and there'll be something extra good for tea. Hope all are well. CJ xx

26 comments:

  1. My youngest performed 'Talking Turkeys' for a school poetry competition - complete with accent! I love poetry, but can never keep it in my head. Judi Dench apparently learns a new poem each day. I know what you mean about WWI poetry; just heartbreaking. Best wishes to the birthday boy! xx

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  2. The poem and your photos are perfection. That poem always reduces me to tears. So much waste. So so sad.
    There’ll always be heavy wear with boys and puppies around but would we have it any other way. Have a lovely school holidays. Ours are still working till Thursday. B x

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  3. Literally everything in my house is broken in some way, and I only have one boy. They are SO ROUGH on everything, even the 55-pound little girl. If I had three boys, I have to think this place would look like a bomb shelter. I love, love, love the WWI poetry. I majored in English with a concentration in 20th century British literature, specifically because I loved Brooke and Owen (esp. Dulce et decorum est) so much. It is sad poetry, though. I can remember losing it a couple of times while writing papers or studying.

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    1. Everything in my house also broken in some way, I am cheered to know it's not just me! The middle boy has chosen Dulce et decorum est to learn for his homework. It's powerful and moving stuff. CJ xx

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  4. Lovely post and pictures. I like poetry, and don't read enough of it nowadays. I hope that the rest of the holidays are less accident prone. Happy birthday to Bertie. xx

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  5. Ah yes, that poem. I sometimes can’t read it. I’ve had Stopping By Woods by Robert Frost in my head since the first set of snow: “the woods are lovely, dark and deep...”

    We ended up making a den for the boys in the attic (double mattress on the floor with cushions, tv, x box, books, airfix, warhammer with glue AND paint etc) so our sitting room had a chance of survival. It worked. They’re still banned from it now, except for special occasions and they’re 16 and 18 😆.

    Happy birthday Bert for tomorrow xx

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    1. That sounds like boy heaven. And parent heaven too. Nothing quite as peaceful and relaxing as a boy-free living room. CJ xx

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  6. Yes, our study (turn right at the front door, wood floor, Venetian blind, indestructible old furniture, 32 inch TV for split screen gaming) became the boys’ room. I simply could not have them in the sitting room or trundling up the stairs when they came in from playing football in the field. Also a table tennis table for a 13th birthday present often meant they did not come in at all - and my garden and windows survived. A friend had three boys and she said the the basket ball net was her worst ever purchase - the noise of the ball being bounced - so glad I did not go there. I have a whole bookcase on the landing devoted to poetry, from Dante to Duffy and everything in between. I used to read a poem a day with my children (for fun) and it used to stimulate such interesting chats. They both still love reading poetry and I’ve just bought the latest Forward book of poetry for my daughter’s birthday. Hope the finger is ok, there is always something with active boys. Hope you have lovely Easter holidays CJ - and the weather improves ...

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    1. Oh a whole bookcase of poetry, I love this so much. The table tennis table is a great idea, although I fear there is not enough space here. I am eyeing the garage as I type... CJ xx

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  7. I had to study war poems for A level which probably dates me. We had to compare the romanticism of Rupert Brooke with the horror of Wilfred Owen. Children do like the Jabberwocky. When I was reaching we removed all the nonsense words and the children substituted their own - they loved it.

    Hope Bertie has a lovely day.

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  8. CJ, I promise you there is no way of avoiding things being broken while there are boys in the house, even when they get bigger! I dream of pink and pretty, or white and minimalist but all I've ever had are scuffed walls and broken bits! Happy birthday to Bertie... our boy was two last week but I seemed to have missed mentioning it!

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  9. Oh CJ I'm reading your post over lunchtime and it has certainly made me chuckle. The joys of boys and puppies eh.

    Mitzi

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  10. Never commented before,but I just love your turn of phrase.Your comments do make me laugh.

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    1. Thank you, and lovely to hear from you. CJ xx

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  11. Even though my son is now fully grown, I still have boy syndrome in the house. My nice clean kitchen can be devastated with the making of one cup of tea and I'd best not talk about the state of his room! I rarely read poetry these days but I do think it has the power to make me reflect on things more. My party piece (many years ago) was to recite (with actions) a Victorian parlour poem called 'The Green Eye of the Yellow God'. Those were the days, eh? PS Like the sound of the book you're reading. Caro x

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  12. What a lovely blog post just lovely. Thank you.

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  13. Oh dear....who needs a Christmas tea towels anyway?! Bless the little Ugger!! x

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  14. I buy wine glasses by the case now because my dear husband seems to drop them regularly. My son's dishwashing skills are very ... slippery. My dishware is blue and white so that way it's easy to have some semblance of matching.

    It's lovely your boys have taken to the poetry. My son had a book of poetry for summer studies for his high school last year and it was some effort. He tried to be diplomatic about it at the time and said that he had an appreciation for it, but it wasn't his favorite style.

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  15. Ah yes, boys... We've had lights fall from ceilings because of clomping about above, broken windows, broken chairs. Most of our bowls, plates and mugs are chipped. Luckily we have two lounges - one has the computer, x-box, an old tv and old sofa, the other has the new tv, leather sofa and wooden coffee table. Less stress all round :-) I hope your middle boy's finger isn't broken and he's ok. Happy birthday to Bertie! Sam x
    PS We're not huge on poetry in this house but we do have a couple of volumes of war poetry – incredibly moving.

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  16. I loved 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats' when I was a child and still have my copy. Wishing you a lovely Easter holiday with few breakages!

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  17. Richard is a great lover of poetry. Me, not so much. I think it is my flutter brain that prevents me from stopping, reading and reflecting. I really enjoyed the poetry when I did my very late English qualifications four years ago. There is so much in a poem! Boys are heavy-handed in this house, too. I have to say that the only girl is not exactly manoeuvring delicately.... Just solved the mystery of the dining room chair found outside (I noticed one was missing when I went to bed last night): the youngest thought of climbing onto our single story roof to retrieve a frisbee that earlier bounced of a window and landed there. He is tiny and thankfully couldn't even reach the gutter. I am glad he didn't spot the ladder on the ground right behind the chair. I am going to declare my back garden a ball/frisbee/boomerang/boy free zone I think. Have a lovely Easter weekend. xx

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    1. Yikes, glad he didn't see the ladder. I think I shall join you with the garden edict. First pot of the season broken this evening. Sigh. CJ xx

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  18. Poetry == love. i adore it. Although, i must confess to being rather particular about what i like and don't like. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I'm not a great fan of epic poems. I remember having to study The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser. Dear lord it went on for days!! Have you looked at Shel Silverstein for your littlest?

    xoxoxo

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  19. I missed this post CJ, so sorry about all the mishaps. Our house has never looked new. I swear as soon as I get something new like a bedspread in two minutes it is stained by little boys. Such is life. I'd rather have a well loved home then a museum. Hugs and Happy Birthday to Bertie.

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  20. I have been checking out a few of your stories and i can state pretty good stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog. mastiff master

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  21. Our puppy has destroyed so much stuff. DESTROYED. I cannot tell you. We used to have a nice house. But I love him such an insane amount, it's ridiculous.

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