National Memory Day Collection

Special Collection

National Memory Day is an annual celebration of poetry and creative writing for people affected by memory loss. National Memory Day raises awareness of the challenges for families, carers and those living with memory loss face and raises funds to support Poetry workshops which explore memory through a year-round poetry programme.

We have created this collection of our favourite poems about memory and about individual memories together with poems that are fun to remember. We hope you listen and enjoy with loved ones and we hope they trigger some lovely memories for you.

National Memory Day is a joint initiative led by Literature Works in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, Plymouth University and The Poetry Archive. If you would like to learn more about National Memory Day or how you can get involved please visit the website.

The Listeners

Walter de la Mare

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,

Knocking on the moonlit door;

And his horse in the silence champed the grasses

Of the forest’s ferny floor:


Emily Bronte

Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,

Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!

Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,

Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers

Emily Dickinson

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers –

Untouched by Morning –

and untouched by noon –

Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection,

Early Photographs of Historic Towns

Brian Johnstone

What we recognise are buildings

scarcely changed, the houses that survived

in streets whose strangeness we ascribe

The Memory Tray

Deryn Rees-Jones

There was a milk tooth, with the string that pulled it.

There was a letter in your father's hand.

Welcome to the real world.


Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Eden Rock

Charles Causley

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.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

Mossbawn Sunlight

Seamus Heaney

There was a sunlit absence.

The helmeted pump in the yard

heated its iron,

water honeyed


Edward Thomas

Yes. I remember Adlestrop—

The name, because one afternoon

Of heat the express-train drew up there

Unwontedly. It was late June.


Lewis Carroll

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

Kubla Khan

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Journey of the Magi

T. S. Eliot

'A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The Darkling Thrush

Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate

When Frost was spectre-grey,

And Winter's dregs made desolate

The weakening eye of day.


W. E. Henley

Out of the night that covers me

Black as the Pit from pole to pole

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

Binsey Poplars

Gerard Manley Hopkins

My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,

Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,

All felled, felled, are all felled;

Of a fresh and following folded rank