According to Paul Muldoon in the Faber Book of Beasts, anthologists tend towards the despotic. As part of the section on poetry in the AA100 textbook on tradition and dissent, we are asked to compile our own anthology from the poems set out in the Faber book of beasts. Here's mine.
1. The Butterfly by Joseph Brodsky
A poem about the ephemeral existence of a butterfly. 14 verses about the day in the life of a butterfly - the very hungry caterpillar for grown ups?
2. Jabberwocky - Lewis Carroll
The Gruffalo's great-grandfather. Pure nonsense verse at its best.
3. Ode on the death of a favourite cat, drowned in a tub of gold fishes - Thomas Gray
A cautionary tale - "Not all that tempts your wandering eyes and heedless hearts, is lawful prize; nor all that glisters, gold". The cat in this poem uses all her nine lives in an attempt to catch the goldfish. Thankfully my cats were more successful in their goldfish hunting adventure.
4. Of the Pythagorean Philosophy - John Dryden/ Ovid's Metamorphoses
I remember reading about the mythical Phoenix and its rise from the ashes. Probably over twenty years ago. Long before it was reborn as Dumbledore's bird.
5. An Otter - Ted Hughes
This caught my eye as I was skimming through the anthology. The description of the Otter as neither "fish nor beast" evokes a wonderful image of the Otter as it swims and wallops in an attempt to escape from the hunt. I'll let you read it and find out whether he does.
6. Our little kinsmen - Emily Dickinson
A poem about worms after the rain, at least it is until the third verse.
7. The Owl and the Pussycat - Edward Lear
More nonsense, never failing to charm
8. The Song of the Jellicles - TS Eliot
Somehow this appeals more when reading the printed word than when watching Lloyd-Webber's cats.
9. The Tyger - William Blake
William Blake addressing the Tyger, pondering on who made the Tyger. Was it the same hand as made the Lamb?
So that's nine, happy to receive suggestions for a tenth.