Poetry Breakfast ~ at home


As we are unable to meet together for our Poetry Breakfasts, I invite you to join us for a virtual session instead.  So, with the help of Tim, Ali and Hilary, I will share ideas for poems, on a given theme and we invite you to put the coffee on, heat up a croissant, and settle down for a good read.

To quote Elizabeth Alexander:  ‘Poetry is what you find/ in the dirt in the corner,//overhear on the bus, God/ in the details, the only way// to get from here to there.’

I suppose this resonates so strongly with me just now, because poetry is proving, for so many of us, to be such an important part of getting from here to there ….

Sending you all much love!

Anna x


Words by Edward Thomas  (there is also an interesting Guardian article here that you might like to read)

To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence by James Elroy Flecker

What the Chairman Told Tom by Basil Bunting

At the Lake House by Jon Loomis

How to Capture a Poem by Angela Topping

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe by Elizabeth Alexander

The Right Words  Geraldine Connolly

Sea’s Answer by Sheenagh Pugh

The Poem of the Future by J R Solonche

The Round by Stanley Koonitz

In My Craft or Sullen Art by Dylan Thomas

Rereading Frost by Linda Pastan

iPoem by George Bilgere

Please add your ideas for poems into the comments box below. If you can’t find online versions to share, just tell us where you found your poem so we can look them up. Feel free to comment on any of the poems, or just simply add your own suggestions.


Call out to poets!  We’d love to hear your thoughts on writing and reading poetry – and please feel free to share poems you may have written about writing.


  1. Ali

    Hi Everyone,
    Anna’s list shows just how much poets have written about poetry and being a poet.
    I’d like to point you to Anna Akhmatova who published a collection called The Secrets of the Craft. Some of them are in her Selected Poems translated by Richard McKane published by Bloodaxe (a Christmas present bought for me from the Poetry Pharmacy!)
    They are all wonderful but my particular favourites are ‘The Poet’ and ‘Last Poem’. And here’s ‘On Poetry’.

    It is the husks of sleepless nights,
    it is the congealed wax of crooked candles,
    it is the first morning chime
    of a hundred white bells…
    It is the warm windowsill
    under the Ukranian moon,
    it is bees, it is clover,
    it is dust and gloom and intense heat.

    • Anna Dreda

      Thank you Ali, and thank you too for the shout out to the Poetry Pharmacy – anyone wanting poetry books can contact Deborah Alma, aka the Emergency Poet, via her gorgeous new poetry bookshop and event space https://www.poetrypharmacy.co.uk

  2. Hilary Tilley

    I am not very good at sending links but I enjoyed Shakespeare’s Sonnet 60 recently ‘Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore’.
    For a bit of fun there is also Roger McGough’s On Having a First Book of Poetry Published (The day the world ended.) from Collected Poems which I can’t find online.
    I have only just seen the list above. I shall tuck in later!

    • Anna Dreda

      Hi Hilary – thank you for these two very different suggestions!

  3. Pam Vincent

    Thank you Anna for setting up this blog. It is very uplifting in these unsettling times. Two poems that I like very much are The Thought Fox by Ted Hughes and Digging by Seamus Heaney.

    • Anna Dreda

      Hi Pam, It is really my pleasure to do this – and I love that people are joining in. Yes, I like those two poems, too – especially Digging: I heard Seamus Heaney recite it at The Ways with Words festival several years ago! Never to be forgotten. Anna x

  4. steve harrison

    Hi Anna ,
    I think I’ve just sent this comment to an old address but to belt up my braces here it is again.

    Here’s a link to a poem I filmed in anti-social distancing in Wellington about writing about poetry.


    Hope it comes across OK with a balance of size to quality ; may take a few seconds to load.

    Best Wishes from around the Wrekin
    Steve Harrison

    • Anna Dreda

      Thank you Steve, that’s marvellous! I’ll email you a list of themes going up over the next few weeks just in case you feel so moved! Our Poet-in Residence! Hurrah! Lots of love, Anna x

  5. Tim Cook

    Oooh look! So many poems about poetry, and so many more still! No-one’s even mentioned the Billy Collins one – “Poetry” -that Hilary reminded me of the other day (thanks again, Hilary).
    Here’s one by Robin Vaughan-Williams from a pamphlet called The Manager. I can’t find it in full online – I have it in 13 Poems of Revenge (Candlestick Press) – so at the risk of using up a bit of space, I’ve typed it out. Thus:

    MANAGER #10.

    The manager looks at me.
    He says it’s time I went.
    They won’t be needing me any more.

    I don’t understand.
    I want to know why.
    But he says some things are better left unsaid.

    I tell him I don’t want to go.
    I’ve put so much into this job already.
    I’ve been ill, my nose has been running constantly.
    I never asked for any sympathy.
    Didn’t pull a sickie.

    Doesn’t he realise how vulnerable I am?
    I’m a sensitive person.
    “I’m a poet,” I say.
    “You can’t fire me,
    I’ll put you in a poem.”

    “Not a very well known poet,” he says
    and fires me anyway.
    Some day I will have my revenge.

    • Anna Dreda

      Hah! Fabulous Tim, thank you – one for all (& aspiring) poets there! And re Billy Collins – did you mean this one?


      If so, how did I miss it?! By the way, in answer to a question from you, when I’m coming up with lists of poems for Poetry Breakfast, yes! I turn to my iPhone Notes. Whenever I read a pome that seems to fit a particular theme (however tenuously, and regardless of whether the theme has been used yet or not, I do the equivalent of scribbling in a notebook – like this: “URBAN BEAUTY August Morning, Upper Broadway; The City Crocuses; by Alicia Ostriker, Waiting for the Light. Brave & Startling Truth, Brain Pickings, YF Another Westminster Bridge, Alice Oswald, Woods, Etc. Travelling with Ashes, Short Days, Long Shadows, Sheena Pugh, p19” It’s very helpful when the time comes!

      I wonder what other people do? Lots of love, Anna x

  6. Jude Walker

    I found this poem recently – the final poem of ‘Treelines’ (A collection of poems published by Lautus Press) and thought it was worth sharing. I like the idea that, in planting a tree, you’re not just off-setting your carbon footprint in its lifetime, but, eventually, giving someone, somewhere in the future, pages of poetry…

    The Poet Tree – Michael Shepherd

    with its soft leaves
    the tree shaded the poet
    as he wrote

    and as its leaves fell
    and the year turned
    the tree wished
    that it might be reborn
    as a book of poems

    and so it was

  7. Tim Cook

    That is soooo good, Anna, that “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins. Why wouldn’t it be? But no, not the one I meant, it’s called “Poetry”, it’s in the collection Nine Horses and it starts:

    Call it a field where the animals
    who were forgotten by the Ark
    come to graze under the evening clouds.

    To find it online stick the first phrase in as well as “Poetry by Billy Collins” which after all may not narrow the search down quite enough…

  8. Helen Hill

    Not a poem but a comment from Mary Jean Chan that resonated with me;
    “More than ever, I turn to poetry for its propensity towards truth, its tensile strength, and its insistence that language can, and must be, the bridge that connects us all during these difficult times.”

    • Anna Dreda

      Thank you Helen – so true!

  9. Philip

    All things can tempt me from this craft of verse
    One time it was a woman’s face, or worse –
    The seeming needs of my fool-driven land;
    Now nothing comes but readier to the hand
    Than this accustomed toil. When I was young,
    I had not given a penny for a song
    Did not the poet sing it with such airs
    That one believed he had a sword upstairs;
    Yet would be now, could I but have my wish,
    Colder and dumber and deafer than a fish

    W B Yeats

    Can someone explain the last two lines?


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