Literary Anniversaries: 09 November


The only problem
with Haiku is that you just
get started and then

We have two literary anniversaries to explore today, both of them poets.

Firstly, 09 November marks the death of Dylan Thomas in 1953.  You can find out more about Thomas’ life by clicking here to see my entry celebrating his birthday.  You might also enjoy this BBC Radio documentary with rare interviews with friends and family of the poet.  As the presenter, Cerys Matthews, says:  “Listening to these tapes I started to understand the strange contradictions at the heart of Dylan Thomas. The boozer with the self-discipline to write verse, the child with a visionary voice, the buffoon who took life so seriously”.

Next up is a a note about the birth in 1937 of the poet Roger McGough.  Along with, maybe, Dr. Seuss, McGough is the earliest poet I can remember reading.  Some of you will be familiar with ‘First Day At School’, reproduced below, but I also like the Roald Dahl-like exaggerated violence of ‘The Lesson‘, so look that one up!

First Day At School

A millionbillionwillion miles from home
Waiting for the bell to go. (To go where?)
Why are they all so big, other children?
So noisy? So much at home they
Must have been born in uniform
Lived all their lives in playgrounds
Spent the years inventing games
That don’t let me in. Games
That are rough, that swallow you up.

And the railings.
All around, the railings.
Are they to keep out wolves and monsters?
Things that carry off and eat children?
Things you don’t take sweets from?
Perhaps they’re to stop us getting out
Running away from the lessins. Lessin.
What does a lessin look like?
Sounds small and slimy.
They keep them in the glassrooms.
Whole rooms made out of glass. Imagine.

I wish I could remember my name
Mummy said it would come in useful.
Like wellies. When there’s puddles.
Yellowwellies. I wish she was here.
I think my name is sewn on somewhere
Perhaps the teacher will read it for me.
Tea-cher. The one who makes the tea.



English Teacher; Shakespeare Geek; Science Fiction Nerd; Adult Fan Of Lego (AFOL); Scrabble Warrior; Television Refusenik. Above all, READER ...

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