Feb 13, 2015

POETRY FRIDAY: Celebrating Eleanor Farjeon

Thanks to Cathy at Merely Day by Day for hosting Poetry Friday today!
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Last week I returned home from a trip to France, where I had a wonderful time visiting friends, sightseeing, and taking in the details of a different culture. I learned so much about the stormy, often tragic history of northwest France, where I was staying, and enjoyed the bread and chocolate immensely! I will share more about my trip later, but today I am happy to rejoin the Poetry Friday party and catch up with my writing friends! ☺

Today just happens to be the birthday of a poet that I admire very much, Eleanor Farjeon, who was born on February 13, 1881. During her career, Farjeon published numerous books, stories, and poems for children and adults, and earned several honors, including the Hans Christian Andersen and Carnegie Medals. One of my personal favorites by Farjeon is “Morning has Broken.” Farjeon was commissioned to write the lyrics for this hymn in 1931 for the hymnbook “Songs of Praise.”
I love this photograph of Ms. Farjeon!
Since Valentine’s Day is upon us, I thought today would be a great time to share two poems by Farjeon that celebrate two of her great loves—books and poetry. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!  

by Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965)

What worlds of wonder are our books!
As one opens them and looks,
New ideas and people rise
In our fancies and our eyes.

The room we sit in melts away,
And we find ourselves at play
With some one who, before the end,
May become our chosen friend.

Or we sail along the page
To some other land or age.
Here's our body in the chair,
But our mind is over there.

Each book is a magic box
Which with a touch a child unlocks.
In between their outside covers
Books hold all things for their lovers.

by Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965)

What is Poetry? Who knows?
Not a rose, but the scent of the rose;
  Not the sky, but the light in the sky;
Not the fly, but the gleam of the fly;
  Not the sea, but the sound of the sea;
Not myself, but what makes me
 See, hear, and feel something that prose
Cannot: and what it is, who knows.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and Happy Writing!


  1. Thank you for sharing Eleanor Farjeon with us.

  2. Enjoyed these poems -- and envious of your trip to France!

  3. Oh, "Morning has broken" is SO GORGEOUS. And I can see how this "What is Poetry" poem could be really fun to use with students. Thank you!

  4. These poems are new to me. Thanks for sharing them, Becky. Happy Valentine's Day!

    1. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day, too, Kelly!

  5. Becky,
    I appreciated the brief bio of Eleanor Farjeon and a sampling of her poetry and song writing. Also liked the heart you created for us using two open books.

    I look forward to hearing about your trip to France. What a treat!

  6. I hadn't heard of her before, though I am not very 'up' on poetry, I'll admit. =) Though I do love Mary Oliver! And French bread and chocolate? Yes, please!!!

    1. It's soooo good, Leandra. I wish I could have brought fresh bread back home for everyone, but I had to settle for lots of chocolate souvenirs instead! = )

    2. Oh, and now I will have to go check out Mary Oliver!

  7. "The room we sit in melts away" <-- Love when that happens! Thanks for sharing these lovely, melt-in-your-mouth poems for Valentine's Day, Becky.

  8. Absolutely nothing better for book and poetry loversI collect poems about poetry, will definitely be adding this to my collection. Thank you. If you haven't read ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr, I recommend it highly- it's a Holocaust novel set in France and Germany.

    1. I have not read that book yet, Carol. I will definitely check it out. I just bought my own copy of I NEVER SAW ANOTHER BUTTERFLY, a book of poems and artwork by kids at the Terezin concentration camp. It is amazingly beautiful!

  9. Sounds like a great trip! I love that photo of Ms. Farjeon too. I have always liked "Poetry" but the other poem is new to me. I especially like the ending!

  10. "The room we sit in melts away,"
    That's my absolute favorite part of reading.

  11. Happy reading and writing to you! France sounds like it was amazing. I can't wait to hear more!

    I don't recall ever reading either of the poems that you shared, but I enjoyed both of them. Awesome! Thanks for sharing. :)

  12. I love 'Not the sea, but the sound of the sea.' Looking forward to your post on the trip to France, Becky. I'm curious about the stormy and tragic history part, and envious of the bread and chocolate part!


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