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Remember – history through verse

September 25, 2014

Poppies in Cockpit Garden of Richmond Castle
‘Remember’ is the theme for this year’s National Poetry Day on the 2nd October.
Much has been written about the link between poetry and memory, learning by heart and our need to remember and to recall.
While the focus is very much on World War 1 as symbolised in the ‘Poppies in the Cockpit Garden’ photograph taken at Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire earlier this year, I invite you to reflect on other important historical events which are embedded in your psyche through poetic devices such as:
Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain – taught to remember the colours of the rainbow but do you recall the famous battle it refers to?
Ring ‘O’ Roses – another rhyme you may have learnt at school. Like many nursery rhymes it commemorates important events in history. This time the Plague
And what about ‘Remember, remember, the 5th of November …’
You probably know that this poem refers to Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up the houses of parliament on 5th November 1605 but do you remember who was on the throne at the time?
I hope that this post has inspired you to think about how often poetry is used as a tool to help people remember their history.
If you wish to refresh your memory and take an interest in history you could:
* read historical fiction or non-fiction
* visit a local heritage property
* find out about local history courses, societies and events in your area
* write a poem about a significant person or event in your personal history
* free write using ‘I remember…’ as a starting point.
* start a journal/diary
* surf the internet to find out what events are happening in your area next week to celebrate National Poetry Day.
The choices are endless. Whatever you decide to do to remember your history, have fun!

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