At least there's been some relief today.
After what seems to have been an eternity, Radio 4's 4.30pm Sunday poetry spot has finally paused from being endlessly 'woke' and brought back splendid, short-breathed Roger McGough and Poetry Please.
Today's guest was poet laureate Simon Armitage, of whom I'm a fan. He chatted to Roger and chose his pick of listeners' choices.
And they were great picks too, though the programme began with part of a medieval poem translated by Simon himself called The Owl and the Nightingale, "full of medieval toilet humour" according to Roger - as we heard.
Roger was right that it's "lovely stuff". Here's The Owl defending his reputation to an equally argumentative Nightingale:
I undertake essential tasksWhere people live, performing actsThat folk find helpful, doing goodWhere humans house their stock of food.I prey on vermin, dusk to dawn,Both in the church and in the barn.It is my pleasure in Christ's houseTo hunt down every filthy mouse.No rodent will live safely thereWhile I patrol it from the air.Alternatively, I might chooseSome different dwelling for my roost.Great trees stand in the wood, and thereThe sturdy boughs are never bare,But overgrown by ivy vines,Whose leafy tendrils intertwine,Whose verdant tones are never lostThrough any winter - snow or frost.My stronghold in those trunks and arms,In summer cool, in winter warm,Is always green and always brightWhen yours has disappeared from sight.
The extract's closing couplet ran as follows: "To blame the fledgling is unjust./It toilets when and where it must" - which is certainly true.
AE Housman, William Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare and Wilfred Owen followed, along with a trio of modern female poets, Alison Brackenbury, Lorna Goodison and Shivanee Ramlochan.
Post a Comment