A Passion for Poetry

‘And now there came both mist and snow,

and it grew wondrous cold:

And ice, mast-high, came floating by,

As green as emerald.’

Can you memorise a poem? Are you able to confidently recite a part of a poem? These few lines from Coleridge’s Rhime of the Ancient Mariner, are taken from many verses and when read aloud make for a brilliant story.

Recently on board the Sea Princess with Bill my husband, we joined a small group of like minded poetry lovers. On our way to New Zealand, there are many adventures on board including trivia, comedy, bean bag toss challenge, movies, seminars, yoga, Knitters and Crafters, Tai Chi at sea, and more. Reading our Princess Patter newsletter one evening, we note that at 11am there is a Passion for Poetry meeting. Off we went.

Our little group consisted of an elderly couple, Lena and Louis, over ninety, holding hands and reciting their favourite verse; Doug, a Welsh man with a strong commanding voice and Warren from Brisbane, plus Bill and me. It was refreshing to hear the beat and rhyme of a poem, to capture the mood of love or hate, to feel the emotion flowing from the words.



In our group we read aloud The Hollow Men and Rhapsody on a Windy Night by T.S.Elliot, If by Rudyard Kipling, poems by Dylan Thomas, Robert Graves, Wordworth, GK Chesterton’s The Donkey, and Bill’s original Princess Ark penned while on the ship to poke fun at the different types of animals (people) that travelled by ship. I had bought some children’s poetry with me to read,

 Paula Green being a favourite from New Zealand. Delightful, cheeky, fun and full of giggles.

I also shared some verse from Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo, a poet Laureate of the United States. Her memoir is about the survival of spirituality and creativity in the face of generations of racism, dispossession and family disfunction. A captivating book. I found it fantastic and terrible.


Together our small poetry club shared intimately, read aloud boldly and offered each other words of comfort, transformation and love. We agreed to meet the next day at the same time. Lena and Louis were sharp in their memorising, able to remember popular stanzas from their childhood and school. It was refreshing.


Popular NZ writer Margaret Mahy who has died is one of my favourite authors for children. Her poems are witty, and bursting with jiggles and giggles. Enjoy this one above.



‘When you unwrap a poem you might find sizzling butter in the pancake pan’,’doorways and windows and rickety gates tickets to space and a Wild West wind’, these lines come from the Introduction to the Treasury of NZ Poems for Children, edited by Paula Green and illustrated by Jenny Cooper.

I hope that you will think about your favourite poems. Even the Lorax by Seuss has been read over and over again to countless children who are mesmerised by the play of nonsense and verbal comedy. Oh! to pick a poem, hold it tight and savour the beauty.

My website mjgibbs.com.au has recently been revamped. Check it out. I offer readers a poetry course for an excellent price. There are worksheets, audios to listen to and lots of exercises to sharpen your poetry awareness. I really hope you will consider doing something that brings pleasure to an ordinary day or week.




Like this Poem?

Leave a Comment


March 10, 2020 at 11:02 pm

What a lovely blog. Wish I had been there sharing poetry. I love Jo Harjo’s work too. Also Maya Angelou, and well so many it is difficult to name them all. Maybe one day I will do a post and send you the link.

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March 11, 2020 at 12:21 am

Thanks June! I know you would have loved it! What a talent you are.

March 12, 2020 at 12:36 am

I love poetry too. I have put a few favourites in my personal journal. One was a section from the Ancient Mariner! I had to smile to myself as the words ‘Hugger-Mugger’ in the Dictionary Bird are words my husband and grandchild call each other and they wouldn’t have read that poem. Nice blog Marg.

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March 12, 2020 at 6:45 am

How cute and poetic that the words from poet Margaret Mahy are used so affectionately. Thanks Joy! Check out my new website – mjgibbs.com.au

Julieanne Seymour
March 25, 2020 at 5:51 am

On the weekend we read three AAMilne poems aloud , more to the delight of the four adults than the baby girl of four months. “When we were very young” was the anthology, and Disobedience is my favourite.
The line”commonly known as Jim” is always the favourite.

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    March 25, 2020 at 9:28 am

    Love A A Milne – whimsical and fun even for a 4 month old listening to the verse! Good for you!

M.J. Gibbs
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