We all have one poem that stands out in our memory, and for Poetry Day Ireland team Irish Country Magazine is sharing their favourite poems of all time
Due to the fast-paced nature of our world and the constant stream of content created by all of us on a daily basis, it can be easy to forget to take a moment and truly think about what it is we want to say. Poetry requires the mind to slow down, to appreciate, and to truly take in what is being said.
A poem can express in a few lines what it often takes a book hundreds of pages to articulate. It is an art form that can be as lofty or as accessible as you want it to be – like literature, there is something to suit every taste. In honour of Poetry Day Ireland, the Irish Country Magazine team chatted about their favourite poems and why they mean so much to them:
Klara Heron – Timeless by Rupi Kaur
I just love how fierce this reads – how it is challenging the reader/society to ‘just try and stop me’. My favourite line, and the one I always think of, is the ‘nasty, wild, woman in me’. To me it’s about being your true self and not being afraid to take up space as a woman.
Niamh Devereux – Same by Hannah Ro
During a recent Instagram scroll, I spotted this and it stopped me in my tracks. We live in a world where we are all so connected by social media, but actually, there is a huge disconnect. Nobody really sees the messy parts of our day-to-day lives online, and this reminded me that we are all just plodding along doing our best, and we should remind each other of that more. The irony is that the daily challenges of life are what connects us all.
Gemma Delaney – Contrasts by Peter Cliffe
I was very close to my grandad when I was small, he would teach me poems and tell me stories. He passed away when I was seven but this was one of the poems he taught me that always stuck with me.
Claire Murrihy – Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare
I’ve loved Shakespeare since I studied it in school but this sonnet or ‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds’ as it’s often referred to, took on new meaning for me in 2016. My husband and I had planned to have it read as a reflection at our wedding but instead, an incredibly talented friend of ours, Colm O’Foghlú, set it to music and my sister, Paula, sang it beautifully on the day. It is now the first track (recorded by another singer) on his album, Filleadh, and it brings me so much joy that everyone can listen to it.
Ariana Dunne – Periodical Ghazal by Ariana Dunne
I had always been a writer of freeform poetry but when I came across a ghazal, an ancient Persian poetic form made famous by Sufi poets such as Rumi and Hafiz, I decided to challenge myself. It is a complicated structure, see here for more, which caused me to become creatively stuck, until, one evening, a monthly event occurred in my body and the poem, literally and figuratively flowed from me. It felt extremely powerful to own such a hushed event and to celebrate something we women often bemoan. Our periodic cycles are a complicated but beautiful gift, just like the ghazal itself.
A special mention was given by several members of the team to the poetry of the late Seamus Heaney. In honour of the impact his work had on the Irish poetry landscape, here is his beautiful poem, Scaffolding:
Poetry Day Ireland takes place on 27 April. Find out more about this event and others here.