By Heart

From a young age I would learn poems as part of ‘Speech & Drama’ exams and this is one that sticks in my mind, not least because being at a convent, having to repeat the word ‘hag’ felt a little risque. I liked the humour of the poem and it was my first encounter with the metaphor of personification. Moreover I won a prize for the recitation:thunder_diptych

Giant Thunder, striding home,
Wonders if his supper’s done.

” Hag wife, hag wife, bring me bones! “
” They are not done, ” the old hag moans.

” Not done? not done? ” the giant roars,
And heaves the old wife out of doors.

Cries he, ” I’ll have them, cooked or not! “
And overturns the cooking pot.

He flings the burning coals about;
See how the lightning flashes out!

Upon the gale the old hag rides,
The clouded moon for terror hides.

All the world with thunder quakes;
Forest shudders, mountain shakes;

From the cloud the rainstorm breaks;
Village ponds are turned to lakes;
Every living creature wakes.

Hungry giant, lie you still!
Stamp no more from hill to hill —
Tomorrow you shall have your fill.

Giant Thunder by James Reeves – Complete Poems for Children

Written for The Daily Post: By Heart You’re asked to recite a poem (or song lyrics) from memory — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Does it have a special meaning, or is there another reason it has stayed, intact, in your mind?

See also: The Guardian: What poem do you know by heart? Share a video of yourself reciting it


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