Last week, Ellie Levenson set up a project called PoetryGeneration - a website where she uploads a poem a day read by an older person in coronavirus isolation, to keep older people visible in a positive light and to create a free library of poems for everyone to enjoy. Think Humans of New York meets The Nation's Favourite Poems.
The idea came to Ellie when her 4 year old son said he would like to hear the poem that her mum reads him at her house – The Triantiwontigongolope by CJ Dennis. Ellie asked mum to record a video of herself reading it, for her son to watch whenever he liked, which she did. This is when Ellie realised how lovely it might be to have a whole library of these to be accessed freely by anyone, as a gift from one generation to another – a virtual snuggle until we are free to do it in person again.
Here are just a few of the most recent poems:
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
By Emily Dickinson. Read by Lyndall Gordon from Cape Town and Oxford.
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
The Song of Wandering Aengus
Written by WB Yeats. Read by Bernard O’Donoghue from Cork and Oxford.
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
As we enter the begining of the UK's third week in 'lockdown' on Monday, PoetryGeneration will be welcoming a very special guest to their platform. Follow PoetryGeneration on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.
Want to submit your own poem?
For a step by step guide to using these please email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for one.