Britons are celebrating the art of poetry Thursday with National Poetry Day. The day is known for Britons flooding the streets with poetry by disseminating poems everywhere from supermarkets and parks to train stations and public squares. Poems are also being spread on social media through the hashtag #thinkofapoem in honor of this year’s theme, “Remember.”
National Poetry Day celebrations started in 1994, according to The Poetry Society, a U,K.-based organization founded in 1909. Themes for National Poetry Day began in 1999.
“Since 1994 National Poetry Day has engaged millions of people with poetry through a range of live events and Web-based activities for people throughout the country,” the society states on its website. “Such a variety of poetry is written and read that each year the day is given a new theme, in order to highlight particular poets and styles of poetry.”
— National Poetry Day (@PoetryDayUK) October 2, 2014
Here are snippets from poems penned by British poets in honor of National Poetry Day:
I love the silent hour of night,
For blissful dreams may then arise,
Revealing to my charmed sight
What may not bless my waking eyes.
-- Anne Brontë, "Night"
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.
-- Alfred Lord Tennyson, "Tears Idle Tears"
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard.
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
-- Oscar Wilde, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol"
Yours is the shame and sorrow
But the disgrace is mine;
Your love was dark and thorough,
Mine was the love of the sun for a flower
He creates with his shine.
-- D.H. Lawrence, "Last Words to Miriam"
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
-- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "How Do I Love Thee?"
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise.
-- Rudyard Kipling, "If"
I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil'd or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below--above the vaulted sky.
-- John Clare, "I Am"
Life, believe, is not a dream
So dark as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day.
Sometimes there are clouds of gloom,
But these are transient all;
If the shower will make the roses bloom,
O why lament its fall ?
-- Charlotte Brontë, "Life"
All sounds have been as music to my listening:
Pacific lamentations of slow bells,
The crunch of boots on blue snow rosy-glistening,
Shuffle of autumn leaves; and all farewells
-- Wilfred Owen, "I Know the Music"
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad
-- Christina Rossetti, "The Music"