Friday, September 10, 2010

Poetry Aloud 2010

We've had plenty of success and a very positive experience from the Poetry Aloud competition organised jointly by Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland in recent years, and the process of selecting our representatives has just started again. You need to learn one poem by W.B. Yeats (Junior- 'The Stolen Child'; Intermediate - 'Beautiful Lofty Things'; Senior - the marvellous late poem 'Cuchulain Comforted', which is reproduced below). Also a poem of your own choice from The Rattle Bag or Lifelines. See your English teachers for full details, and to register your interest.

We will shortly have internal auditions, and will select the best to go forward to local heats. Full details are on the National Library site here. There's an excellent site with plenty of resources for pupils and teachers from the other side of the Atlantic in Poetry Out Loud.

'Cuchulain Comforted', by W.B. Yeats

A man that had six mortal wounds, a man
Violent and famous, strode among the dead;
Eyes stared out of the branches and were gone.

Then certain Shrouds that muttered head to head
Came and were gone. He leant upon a tree
As though to meditate on wounds and blood.

A Shroud that seemed to have authority
Among those bird-like things came, and let fall
A bundle of linen. Shrouds by two and three

Came creeping up because the man was still.
And thereupon that linen-carrier said:
'Your life can grow much sweeter if you will

'Obey our ancient rule and make a shroud;
Mainly because of what we only know
The rattle of those arms makes us afraid.

'We thread the needles' eyes, and all we do
All must together do.' That done, the man
Took up the nearest and began to sew.

'Now must we sing and sing the best we can,
But first you must be told our character:
Convicted cowards all, by kindred slain

'Or driven from home and left to die in fear.'
They sang, but had nor human tunes nor words,
Though all was done in common as before;

They had changed their throats and had the throats of birds.

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