Today is National Poetry Day, and I'm just squeaking in before midnight...
I keep coming back to this as a favourite London poem, and this is both a fabulous reading, and a fabulous presentation of it : Benjamin Zephaniah reading The London Breed
For a total change of pace, here's some John Burnside: a contemporary Scottish poet whose work has a way of winding its way into my memory and my heart.
(From Myth of the Twin)
There is always a place on the way
where the path curls in the dark,
into the smell of dust
and the stillness of nettles.
There is always a litter of stones
or a broken roof
a few steps into the shade;
an empty skull, a ribcage stitched with grass,
barely a trace of vapour that had lived
before you came:
a remnant of mucus and water, hatched on a bone,
like the silver-and-eggshell perfume after a birth,
or the whisper that swells and recedes in the quick of your mind
when you wake in the day, and the bright dream runs on without you.
Or something more traditional? Maybe Christina Rossetti?
This section of Goblin Market, for example:
Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
"Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpecked cherries-
Melons and raspberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
All ripe together
In summer weather--
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy;
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye,
Come buy, come buy."
* Newspaper blackout poem 'All In A Night's Work' by Austin Kleon, used under Creative Commons.