Today is World Poetry Day and I
thought I would celebrate with a poem that I first discovered as a teenager in
school. Written by Mervyn Peake in
1949, it may be short, but it is as full of detail and meaning as his many, many
illustrations for other authors.
This particular poem, since I
first discovered it, has remained in my conscious ever since. It helped me through exams - my most
pressing need at that paritcular time of discovery - and has brought me calm at other and
more distressing periods of my life. My copy of the
poem resides in a book on the second shelf of my poetry bookcase in my 'writing
shed'. And now, when I find myself
stuck for a word, or phrase, or even an idea, I take it down and re-read it, even
though I already know it by heart.
The vastest things are those we
may not learn.
We are not taught to die, nor to
Nor how to burn
How pitiful is our enforced
To those small things we are