Local Centenarian Celebrates Queen's Birthday With Poetry

Pass On A Poem's oldest reader proudly displays his telegram


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The most recent meeting of the Pass On A Poem group was held in Chiswick on the Queen's 90th birthday last week- but for once Her Majestry was outranked!

The group's oldest reader, Joe O' Brien, who had just passed his 100th birthday, came to the Oxfam Bookshop on Turnham Green Terrace proudly bearing his telegram from the Queen. Joe had been in hospital on the day the telegram arrived but he was back in fine fettle to attend the meeting and share his thoughts on life and poetry with the gathering.

Joe decided to read The Cremation of Sam Mc Gee by Robert W Service.

The theme of the meeting had been that of finding poems with a theme of hope and healing in the face of adversity. Not easy, but the antidotes to misery varied wildly from the ability to play music in a concentration camp, via reminisces in trains, one on the countryside around a rural station (Adelstrop), another on getting the attention of a pretty girl on the platform (Not Adelstrop) and finally to the joy of eating plums taken surreptitiously from one’s host’s fridge.

Adding to the spirit of optimism, there was a definite trend towards love of nature. There was a fine range of poems both well-loved and little known. The highlight was a reading from the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, who was totally immersed in the countryside and local life, which introduced a beautiful tribute to her from Carol Ann Duffy.

Otherwise as ever a stimulating mix of poems, with special mention due to a speech, believed to be by Shakespeare, inserted into a play about Sir Thomas Moore, in which Moore harangues the narrow minded attitudes of some of his countrymen on immigration.

April 29, 2016

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