My Father's Poetry

This first poem was written by may father as a young man, after witnessing some of the terrible results of the Bengal Famine.

This one was written the day I was born.

And this one was written more recently, perhaps contemplating his mother's passing.

All three poems are published in his book The Glance of an Eye

Humourous Verse and Monologue

Well we'll start this with one from Hillaire Belloc's great Cautionary Verses. This one's "John, who lost a fortune by throwing stones". I love it!

And here's a great Cole Porter monologue: "Thank you so much Mrs Lowsborough-Goodbey". (Unfortunately the piano background is not a very good match...)

War Poetry

The world wars spawned their own genre of poetry, some of which may seem remote to the younger generations. Born in London in 1959 I experienced some of the aftershock of war in such minor ways as an active school Cadet Corps in which we - too - had "Naming of Parts".

(After recording the above I came across this page with a recording of the poet himself reading the poem. And yes, he reads it much better than I.)

For me perhaps the quintessential war protest is this, denigrating what must have been a popular saying: "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" (it is sweet and noble to die for one's country).

Although it is of course much older, Ozymandias, Shelley's famous poem, belongs in this category, with its powerful double meaning.

Siegfried Sassoon's "Everyone Sang" is not exactly a war poem, but he's certainly a war poet, and on that score I've included it here.