An army of youth to celebrate truth

Why poems matter: This year is the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Day.

What is the magic of poems? By using simple words arranged in lines and verses, poets can describe how many of us feel at important moments in life. Great poems can become like friends.

What’s happening

Activities for National Poetry Day are going on all this week. This year’s theme is “truth” — and hundreds of schools and young people are getting involved in reading, writing and performing poems of their own.

Find out more

The earliest poetry was not written down. It was sung. People sang stories to each other round the campfire as a way of remembering their past. The same songs were sung for thousands of years.

This was often very useful. If you wanted to give your child the instructions for making a boat, for example, you made a song about it. Or if you wanted to teach religious stories, it was easier to do so in a song.

The use of verse to transmit useful information continues to this day. Many people know that “in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”. This reminds them that it was the year 1492 when the Spanish sailor, Columbus, first discovered America.

We still use songs to remember dates, and days of the month and names of kings and queens.

Some say…

Poetry is really for beautiful descriptions, such as the one written by the famous poet John Keats about autumn: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. It gives you a shiver down your spine and makes you see the world differently. It can also capture some of the most powerful feelings in life better than any other method.

Others think…

That is like saying horses are only for racing. It is much too narrow. Horses can pull carts and jump fences as well. Poems can do lots of things. They can tell jokes, make fun of people, teach you how to play games and make shopping lists. That’s why poetry is so great.

You Decide

  1. Is it a good idea to learn poetry by heart?

Activities

  1. Write you own poem! And then enter the National Poetry Day writing challenge.

Some People Say...

“Poetry tells you the truths that matter”

National Poetry Day slogan.

What do you think?

Word Watch

Sung
In modern words, the oldest song in English goes like this. Summer has arrived / Loudly sing, cuckoo! / The seed is growing / And the meadow is blooming / And the wood is coming into leaf now / Sing, cuckoo!
John Keats
He was one of England’s greatest poets. He lived from 1795 to 1821 and died at the age of 25.

Subjects

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