Sunday, 26 June 2011

Laurie Lee













A quiet Sunday after a busy week I decided to settle down with my favourite book, Poem For the Day. The Twitterworld is agog with people busting their guts trying to get tickets for the Edinburgh Festival or Olympics or even 'Take That' Concerts. I am browsing this book of 366 poems one for every day of the year including leap years. I keep it near my computer and when I feel like a break from the screen or just when my fancy takes me to dip into a poem, I grab the book and read and re-read the same poem. The wonderful thing about this book is that each poem is placed on a day of significance - either the poet's birth or death day or another relevant date - and is complemented by a footnote full of amusing anecdotes and interesting facts to expand on the poem and the poet's life.June 26th has 'Home From Abroad' a poem by Laurie Lee. He was born on this day in 1914.I am familiar with his world famous novel 'Cider with Rosie' but not of his poems. This is what I love about this book. I get to read poems and anecdotes of poets I've not come across before. In the footnote it mentions that at age 19 Laurie left Kent and walked to London and worked as a labourer. His travels through Spain is recounted in his later novels.

This poem begins with the verse

"Far-fetched with tales of other worlds and ways,
My skin well-oiled with wines of the Levant,
I set my face into filial smile
To greet the pale, domestic kiss of Kent."

Most of us can relate to his feeling of yearning for home, so beautifully expressed. In 1936 he wrote " June came in full blast, with the heat bouncing off the sea as from a buckled sheet of tin".
Of course that has happened in Glasgow. I look out at the grey skies and laugh at the image of "heat bouncing off the sea". I think that reading words in verse the best way of relaxing on a quiet afternoon.
I also noticed that there is a Book Two of the same 'Poem for the Day'. Another book to buy, read and treasure.A poem a day what more could one ask for?

2 comments:

Alison Hughes said...

Thank you for blogging about this book. In this age of cyber overload, Leela, I think you may have persuaded me to buy it and start off by reading a poem a day. I always switch off the TV on a Saturday night and read the Saturday Guardian. There has to be some respite from the computer.

Leela Soma said...

TV abstinence is a very good way of resting and recouping Alison. This book is good for relaxing, makes one think of the poet's life when one reads the small anecdotes in the footnotes. I'll lend you it next time I see you.

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