A poem for every occasion?

Last week’s post made reference to ‘Cut’, the poem Sylvia Plath wrote after cutting her thumb, and it made me think that there seem to be poems about every subject.  Also, just as some people always say the right thing at the right time, there are others who always come up with the right poem for the right occasion.

I’ll give you an example. It was St Brigid’s Day on February 1st, a day long-celebrated in pagan cultures to mark the half-way point between winter and spring solstices.  Rebecca Gethin wrote a lovely post about the day and its traditions here. Meanwhile, on twitter I saw this, a perfect example of someone (Ian Duhig) coming up with exactly the right poetic quote for the day.

Except that, in the UK, Spring seems many months away as we are enduring gales, floods, high winds and, in some areas, snow. I found these wonderful snow poems by Philip Gross (and was also pleased to find an online magazine I hadn’t come across before). Keeping in the weather theme, over at the Guardian, Billy Mills has posted a great selection of wind poems. See what I mean? Poems for everything.

Whenever I’ve put a call out for poems, however obscure the subject might appear, I’ve been sent more poems than I can easily post at one time. Recently I’ve asked for poems about holidays, rabbits and horses and, every time, the poems have come flooding in.

There must be certain subjects which are more written about than others but I doubt that there is one subject that nobody has ever written about. Although I do fancy putting a call out for poems about something highly unusual, just to test this theory. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever written or read about, I wonder?

10 thoughts on “A poem for every occasion?”

  1. There is indeed a poem for everything, and that’s brilliant. Personally, I remember once being transfixed by a tiny programme tucked away in the corner of Radio 4 (they are often the best), about how nineteenth century white settlers in America used to burn their log cabins to reclaim their expensive iron nails as they moved west. I wrote about that. Nobody yet wants to publish it … perhaps it’s too niche. Or rubbish. But it’s an odd subject.


  2. Recently I read a poem about a sea horse (Sea Horse, by Edward Weismiller). I found it rather sad, but liked the imagery. I’ve written a poem about the killing of a young giraffe today, but it needs working on. Perhaps the strangest – but also quite wonderful – poem I’ve read was one about an artichoke. (Artichoke – Joseph Hutchinson). It is just one line, but it’s etched in my memory, and artichokes will never quite look the same.


  3. I wrote one last year about stripping a chicken carcass to make stock. NaPoWriMo is good for forcing out poems on overlooked, quotidien subjects.


  4. Josephine, I want to say thank you for putting my lil ole blog on yours. AND for all the gifts you have given out so generously today. I have just sat and read them all and it has given great pleasure.
    I spent all afternoon out walking ( in a blizzard) with the words of christina Rossetti in my mind…. Who has seen the wind/ neither you nor I/ etc
    And one of my weird subjects was the latches on field gates. The fields near my house all have interesting old ones that are twisted in the middle.. The twist must have been when they were being forged. .. And I imagined some blacksmith designing this twist as their speciality. I even asked roundabout as to when they were bought and it was at least 2 generations ago!!! They make a lovely clinky sound! They are disappearing now v quickly as large machinery requires larger modern metal gates. Soppy aren’t I?
    Anyway, thanks again for a lovely Sunday evening’s read. Cheers Rebecca g


    1. Hello Bill! I don’t know that poem. There are poems about everything and more poems about some subjects than others. I suppose it’s obvious, really! What’s really special, though, is when you read about something unusual, that you haven’t read much about before, and it seems to talk to you, as if the poet has shared the exact experience that you’d thought was rare. Re killing spiders, Jo Shapcott wrote that very good poem about killing a scorpion (it could as easily be about a spider, of which I have more experience). Thank you for the suggestion. 🙂


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