This week we’re delving into one of the dustiest shelves in Dorothy Dickens, the poetry shelf. Tucked away in the rear of the store it sits there often untouched between rounds of cleaning and sorting yet contains some absolute gems. The artful poet having the capacity to capture the intensity, emotion, sorrow and excitement of the novelist, to paint landscapes and both internal and external worlds, often in only a few lines or pages. For indeed poetry, be it freshly written or as old as the hills, has a certain timelessness to it all, that despite it’s sometimes lofty reputation, makes it accessible to people across centuries, across nations and irrespective of age or class. Universality, the natural world and the human condition, synthesized into palatable portions.
Take for instance these lines from Shakespeare’s sonnets ‘Love Agony’ and ‘Shrewd Love’ respectively - “So true a fool is love that in your will, Though you do anything he thinks no ill” and “When my love swears that she is made of truth I do believe her though I know she lies” - or the sentiments described by 17th century poet Edmund Waller in ‘The Selfe-banished’ in which he writes “It is not that I love you less Than when before your feet I lay But to prevent the sad increase of hopeless love, I keep away”. These poems were written more than 400 years ago and yet mirror the human experience - unrequited love, broken hearts, betrayal and love’s lament - as clearly and relatably as the lyrics of modern pop/rock songs. In a similar vein, 19th century poet Emily Dickinson writes “We outgrow love like other things And put it in a drawer”, while 21st Century poets like Gabrielle Journey Jones write words such as “Double-barrelled heart words Enclose around our exit wounds”.
And the appeal of poetry doesn’t just extend to the broken hearted. Consider these words of adoration from D.H Lawrence’s ‘Gloire de Dijon’ - “When she rises in the morning I linger to watch her; She spreads the bath-cloth underneath the window And the sunbeams catch her” - or these lines from ‘The Wheel In His Hand’ from ‘The Memory of Love: Surdas Sings To Krishna’ – “When he stepped from his chariot to earth, all astir. With bits of dust smeared through his hair he seemed Like a lion emerging from a mountain lair”. And though somewhat more conditional, in his poem ‘The Constant Lover’, Sir John Suckling’s protagonist is so smitten with his new love he proclaims “Out upon it, I have loved Three whole days together! And am like to love thee more, If it prove fair weather”.
And there’s poems for animal lovers too. Dog lovers may relate to lines like “I brought a puppy home one day, it seems like only yesterday. But it was 14 years today, since he first came to stay” from Jeff Kennett’s compilation ‘Dog Lovers’ Poems’, while fans of wild beasties may appreciate poems from the 1972 Anthology ‘And I Dance’ compiled by Keith Bosley that contains the poem ‘Living Things’ with the lines “Bird, sips water, drips music, throwing back it’s head. Throw back your head, turn the rain into a song and you will fly” and a poem entitled ‘Snake glides’ “Snake glides, through grass, over pebbles, forked tongue working, never speaking but it’s body whispers, listen”.
As for those tucked up at home in an alpine retreat, many can no doubt relate to these lines from Les Murray’s ‘The Canberra Remnant’ “Eavesdropping rain, a quiet car, a sense of mountains in the air, dark houses sleeping, beneath the freezing drip of European trees”. Or for those readers whose properties are more pastoral perhaps the words of Gabrielle Journey Jones who, in ‘Haberdashery Hills of Bemboka’, describes “Sewing ripe green farmland To this daydream azure sky With wild, dark stitches Of serrated mountain” and in ‘Bemboka Trio’ describes “Three trees on separate banks reach across a glassy creek Shadows interconnected Reflections mirrored”. While those who relate to a more blunt and humorous approach, may appreciate the words of Bruce Simpson “I’m up to my knees in Mitchell grass I’m up to my knees in clover I’m up to my balls in bloody debt And I’m a Vestey drover”.
So, why not give our poetry section a try, perhaps it holds the key to not just your entertainment but to a deeper joy and personal enrichment as well. And for those who’d like to not just read poetry alone but also hear it read aloud why not join us at our in-store Spoken Word Poetry sessions held at 5:30pm on the 1st Thursday of every month or try your hand at dabbling in the craft by joining the Dorothy Dickens Writing Group that meets at 6pm on the 3rd Thursday of each month. As Gabrielle Journey Jones states in ‘What’s Her Story?’ “She (/He/They) is (/are) creating art! She (/He/They) is(/are) art! She (He/They) is(/are) self-expression! She(/He/They) is(/are) daring to be seen!” and you can be too.
Happy Reading from the Dorothy Dickens Team!
Relevant In-store Titles Include:
Blue Room Poets - An Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry
Some More of Me Poetry - Pam Ayres
Golden Numbers - Mrs P.A Barnett
The Western Track - Arthur Bayldon
And I Dance - Compiled by Keith Bosley
The Merry Muses of Calendonia: A Collection of Bawdy Folksongs
Shakespeare on Love: A Personal Selection - Compiled by Simon Callow
The Sea In-between - Dianne Cikusa
The Late Augustans - Donald Davie
Backblock Ballads and Later Verses - C.J Dennis
Selected Verse - C.J Dennis
The Sentimental Bloke - C.J Dennis
The Poems of Ernest Dowson - Ernest Dowson
The Metaphysical Poets (Penguin Classics) - Edited by Helen Gardner
Fifty ‘Bab’ Ballads - W.S Gilbert
Selected Poems - Adam Lindsay Gordon
The Memory of Love: Surdas Sings to Krishna - Translated by John Stratton Hawley
Where the Snow Grass Grows - Neil Hulm
Etymology Of Courage - Gabrielle Journey Jones
Spoken Medicine - Gabriel Journey Jones
Dog Lovers’ Poems: A Collection of Prose and Verse - Compiled by Jeff Kennett
A Selection: The Penguin Poets - C.Day Lewis
Just Give Us Time - Nuri Mass
The Ivory Gate: An Anthology Of Verse With Exercises - J.O’C Morgan
Collected Poems - Les Murray
Bushman’s Holiday - Colin Newsome
The Banjo’s Best-Loved Poems: Chosen by his Grand-daughters - A.B Paterson (Illustrated by Hugh Sawrey)
The Collected Verse Of A.B Paterson - A.B Paterson
A Gift Book of Banjo’s Waltzing Matilda & Verse Selections - A.B Paterson
Poems of Banjo Paterson (Volume One) – A.B Paterson (Illustrated by Pro Hart)
Poems of Banjo Paterson (Volume Two) - A.B Paterson (Illustrated by Pro Hart)
Singer Of the Bush: The Poems of A.B Paterson – A.B Paterson (Illustrated by John Anthony King)
The Granite Island - Robert Payne
Celebrating The Golden Years - Helen Steiner Rice & Virginia J. Ruehlmann
Modern Narrative Poetry - Compiled by B.W Rose & R.S Jones
The Poems of John Dryden - Edited by John Sargeaunt
The Lay of the Last Minstrel – Sir Walter Scott
An Australasian Antholology - Percival Serle
Songs of the Droving Season - Bruce Simpson
Where the Outback Drovers Ride: Stories, Poems and Yarns from The Bush - Bruce Simpson
Fourteeth Century Verse & Prose - Edited by Kenneth Sisam
The Years - Raymond Souster
The Hound f Heaven - Francis Thompson
Robust Ribald and Rude Verse in Australia - Selected by Bill Wannan
Great Love Poems - Edited by Shane Weller
Mao Zedong Poems – Mao Zedong Poems