Poetry, You, Me, and Wordsworth

recently posted a spoken word poem which was, itself, a re-run of my Rapid Rhyme #30. This started off by saying that “None of us are Poets” but went on to suggest that we could all have a go and have fun along the way.  We do, after all, primarily blog for ourselves. 

I had some lovely responses, but also a couple of “should I really be trying to write poetry – who do I think I am?” replies.  

Caroline at doesitevenmatter3 thought that the fewer comments received, whenever she posted poetry, was a commentary on her poetry writing. 

Sue, at nansfarm, received a comment of “good try” for her poetry, which she equated with a school report saying “could do better!”

My reply was:

I think that with your comment, and Carolyn’s, we need to encourage you both that “Yes, you can!” (write poetry).

All of art is in the eye, ear, touch, smell, taste, sense of space, or other sensory effect, of the receiver. Not forgetting that the first sensor is you!  If it pleases you, job done!

I think we all tend to be self-deprecating about our output and, in truth, there is a huge spread of talent in varying degrees across WordPress. There are some sites that produce poetry every day, even some that produce multiple poems every single day. How on earth they do it is beyond me.

I have learned to love haiku, and appreciate its subtlety, simplicity, and elegance. I have always liked limericks and have posted several hundred.  I love rapid rhymes that tend to be written to the pace of my walking, and I appreciate more complex forms that I occasionally have a go at.  Some modern rap I find to be really sophisticated and colloquial forms of poetry can be a joy to listen to.

I find myself listening to more spoken word poetry and comparing one narrator with another.  Some recordings are absolutely abysmal in my opinion, but that is only my opinion.  Each of us hears differently, and appreciates differently.  Just because someone has a brilliant acting voice, or book reading voice, does not mean they do justice to poetry. 

Try it out for yourself.  Choose a poem you really like, or a well known classic.  Look up different readings and listen to them.  You may find a perfect example – for you, and that is the whole point – it is a personal preference.

For example, If I choose “Daffodils” which many people are familiar with and listen to a reading by XXX I may love it.  If I listen to YYY reading it, I may loathe it. It is the same poem, with the same brilliant words, and the same lovely images but spoiled for me because I do not hear it the same way! Perhaps I just don’t like the way it is presented.  Maybe it is because the reader doesn’t really believe in what they are doing.  Let’s face it, some people could read a railway timetable and make it irresistibly entertaining.  Stephen Fry springs to mind!

Here, for your enjoyment, are some alternative versions of William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ 

(Cumbria – England) – BBC – 12th April 2016. This may not play outside UK.

A reading by Ralph Fiennes

And now one that I do not enjoy, read by Jeremy Irons

Here it is set to music by Dave Camlin, recorded and performed by Sing In! and Sing Owt! community choirs in west Cumbria in March 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis.

and, finally The Wordsworth Rap – Cumbria Tourism

51 thoughts on “Poetry, You, Me, and Wordsworth

  1. Well rap has never been my “thing”. I think the sung version is very cheerful and sweet. Totally agree Ralph Fiennes. He sounds enthused and appreciative of the lovely flowers. Jeremy Irons…great actor with a sad face and his voice just not quite right for poems about dear little flowers! I love daffodils. They seem to say “Hello! It’s us again! It’s Spring!” How can you not smile at them?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I disliked the rapping rabbit including the annoying false accent and I failed to understand why this would attract people to the area.

    The sung version sounded like a hymn, though I didn’t dislike it.

    Our two actors made an interesting contrast – Ralph speaking too slow and Jeremy too fast! I think both should should heed my teacher’s ‘Could do better’ comment!

    You’re right, Stephen Fry would be perfect.
    I smiled at Draliman’s comment about Pam Ayres and now I’m imagining her reading it. Oh, that would be a treat.

    Could I do it any better? Haha 🤣 Absolutely not!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I can’t do Pam Ayres, so here’s a bit of Yorkshire instead!
        [audio src="https://nansfarm.files.wordpress.com/2021/07/daffodils-wordsworth.mp3" /]

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Oops – Rapping Rabbit! No, it’s not a rabbit is it? Why did I see a rabbit? Is it a fox? Ah well Rapping Rabbit sounds better than Rapping fox!

    You should try it, record a rap to the picture of a rabbit! 🐰😄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll come back and listen to these later. As I’ve said before, I have a strong preference for reading, not hearing poetry read, and I sense these renditions may – some of them – prove my point. To me at least!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well expressed, Peter! Great advice!
    It is SO interesting to hear different people/voices read the same poem. Depending on how they read they can add a lot to the experience.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂
    PS…I keep writing poetry. But I rarely share it.
    One of my fave quotes… “We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.” – John Fowles

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting. I like some spoken poetry but it’s very subjective what I go for. Not sure any of the ones you picked work for me.
      But the central point – we are all worthy – is very true. Write poetry. Just do it.
      PS can’t be doing with haiku – it encourages cod philosophy and we need to keep those fish in their plaice…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great thinking. And when it comes to versions of “Daffodils” do you know this one?
    The Imbeciles

    I wandered lonely as a crowd
    That floats on high o’er valves and ills
    When all at once I saw a shroud,
    A hound, of golden imbeciles;
    Beside the lamp, beneath the bees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the cheese.

    Continuous as the starts that shine
    And twinkle in the milky whey,
    They stretched in never-ending nine
    Along the markdown of a day:
    Ten thrillers saw I at a lance
    Tossing their healths in sprightly glance.

    The wealths beside them danced; but they
    Out-did the sparkling wealths in key:
    A poker could not be but gay,
    In such a jocund constancy:
    I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
    What weave to me the shred had brought:

    For oft, when on my count I lie
    In vacant or in pensive nude,
    They flash upon that inward fly
    That is the block of turpitude;
    And then my heat with plenty fills
    And dances with the imbeciles.


    Liked by 2 people

  7. Peter I love these observations. I would rather read the words myself, without someone else’s voice. Then, it is intriguing to me to hear the actual author reading . I enjoy ‘hearing’ how it was intended, vs, the voice in my head that interpreted it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. How interesting, I have to say I too preferred the Ralph Fiennes version, I found the pace strangely odd with Jeremy Irons and would rather listen to the choir than rap music any day, I think it’s mainly because so much of it is done in the Multicultural London accent which really grates upon my ears but as you say we all hear things differently. An example of this is a less than complimentary review of one of my books which rather upset me at the time until I came across reviews of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and The Thursday Murder by Richard Osman both of which are Sunday Times best sellers both of which had vast quantities of bad reviews on Amazon. I sometimes wonder if the people who leave these reviews have ever written anything themselves and without putting too fine a point on it, I think the modern way to describe them would be someone who is right up their own arse, but once again we all look at things differently.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Poetry, You, Me, and Wordsworth #2 – Peter's pondering

  10. I had put this aside as I could not listen to the various readings/singings and then it got lost in my emails!
    I love listening the Fiennes and then Irons. One super slow the other must quicker. Both had their own charm because both have such lovely speaking voices. I think I liked Jeremy Irons’ version!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I know one of your readers didn’t like Jeremy Irons’ version, saying it was too fast – at first it felt nonchalant to me, but then it felt lyrical to me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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