Collection of my favourite poems available through The Poetry Archive
They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden Rock:
My father, twenty-five, in the same suit
Of Genuine Irish Tweed, his terrier Jack
Still two years old and trembling at his feet.
This recording was made of Causley reading Eden Rock a short while before he died. Knowing that this would be his last public reading of this poem which imagines the process to dying makes it an even more precious reading. I can't listen to it with a dry eye, apparently it took him several times to record it for weeping. An incredible gem.
Not Waving But Drowning
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking...
Listening to Stevie Smith reading this very famous poem helped me understand it in a totally different way- listen to it and see if you feel the same! I've always loved Smith's non-pretentious attitude to her writing, it's a joy to be able to listen to her speaking about it here.
The Whitsun Weddings
That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot...
I always think of this poem when I'm on a train. I first listened to Larkin reading his poems on my walkman while travelling to visit M when we were at school so it reminds me of that time too.
Death in the Suburbs
The end of the world will surely come
in Bromley South or Orpington
morning in the suburbs:
sunlight thrown like a blanket
over pink-and-white vistas
As a teenager I used to listen to Henri reading his poems on the radio, I still have a few recordings that I made on tape at the time. I love the sound of his voice and wish I'd been able to hear him read live.
My father passed with his penny letters
Through closes opening and shutting like legends
When barbarous with gulls
Hamnavoe's morning broke
On the salt and tar steps. Herring boats,
Listening to GMB's lilting voice reminds me of holiday visits to the beautiful Orkney Islands, he deserves to be appreciated by a wider audience, his novels and books for children are also worth checking out.