Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Celebrating World Poetry Day

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

        The vastest things are those we may not learn.
        We are not taught to die, nor to be born,
        Nor how to burn
        With love.
        How pitiful is our enforced return
        To those small things we are masters of.

                                                             Mervyn Peake (1949)


  1. I didn’t realise he was a poet, too, though his creative language in his narrative prose should have suggested this ... Thank you for sharing!

  2. You're welcome, Ann, and thanks for visiting.