St. Georges Day. 23rd April: A Nation's Day in Verse by Rudyard Kipling, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley

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St. Georges Day. 23rd April: A Nation's Day in Verse

Poetry is often cited as our greatest use of words. The English language has well over a million of them and poets down the ages seem, at times, to make use of every single one. But often they use them in simple ways to describe anything and everything from landscapes to all aspects of the human condition. Poems can evoke within us an individual response that takes us by surprise; that opens our ears and eyes to very personal feelings.

Forget the idea of classic poetry being somehow dull and boring. It still has life, vibrancy and relevance to our lives today.

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St George’s Day. 23rd April

A Nation’s Day in Verse

The United States has July 4th, Ireland St Patrick’s Day and France Bastille Day. Most Nations have a day when they turn to themselves; to reflect on the past, to revel in the present and to look forward to the future.

For England 23rd April is St George’s Day.

St George, a hero from bygone days, who slays Dragons and pursues other mythic deeds, is part of childhood. But for modern times, for modern Nations, a greater purpose is needed.

For England St George is best now described as a principle. A small Nation gown large and respected for it’s brainpower, brawn and ingenuity and fighting for beliefs, misguidedly or not, that others can’t or won’t.

Of course England’s role has changed many times over the centuries but perhaps its basic tenets and desires haven’t. Fair Play. A role for everyone on equal terms. Democracy. Tolerance. A safe haven for those oppressed. England ‘expects’ and sometimes succeeds.

Perhaps William Shakespeare, the Bard himself, outlined our pride in his play Richard II:—

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself

Against infection and the hand of war,

This happy breed of men, this little world,

This precious stone set in the silver sea,

Which serves it in the office of a wall

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

And now our poets and wordsmiths have their say.

Publisher: Copyright Group ISBN: 9781787379282 Pages: 94