One of the gems of BBC Radio 4 has returned for a new series, ‘Poetry Please’. The programme formula is simple: listeners are invited to send in their requests with a brief reason for the request, the poems are then read out, usually by an invited member of the theatrical profession or by the author themselves.
The programme is moderated by one of the ‘Liverpool Poets’ – Roger McGough.
Last evening the poetic net was, as ever, cast far and wide.
The actress Lia Williams read several of the poems beautifully – further proof to my mind that poetry should unfailingly be read out loud.
Last evenings programme featured the following poems, each a delight to hear:
The Ambush by Brian Patten
The Effect of Coastal Processes on the Beach at Amroth by Adrian Blamires
Verse Found Whilst Reading Between the Lines of a Lonely Hearts Ad by Matt Harvey
Rapunzstiltskin by Liz Lochhead
I Cannot Live With You by Emily Dickinson
London by ASJ Tessimond
The Album by Cecil Day Lewis
Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
My Three Rivers by Lotte Kramer
One Need Not be a Chamber by Emily Dickinson
It is Here by Harold Pinter
I Know the Place by Harold Pinter
High Waving Heather by Emily Brontë
My Literary Career So Far by Adrian Mitchell
My particular favourite was this poem by Matt Harvey – read by the author before a
predictably lively and responsive audience.....
Verse Found Whilst Reading Between the Lines of a Lonely Hearts Ad
I'm looking for a woman. She must be very nice.
And made of all the right ingredients - i.e. sugar, starch, spice…
She must of course respect me - as many people do -I don't ask to be worshipped.
I only want what's due.
She should be nimble on her feet and not get in my way,
She should show a lively interest in every thing I say
Ideally she'll be fairly bright (but not have gone to college)
All applicants will take a test in basic general knowledge
It goes without my saying that she must just love to cook
And when I lose a sock or tie she must know where to look
But when I lose my temper she will, if she is wise,
Let the worst of it blow over - and then apologise
She mustn't put on make-up, unless I take her out
When she'd to hold her body steady and not wriggle it about
A word or two about myself? Well, I am what I am -
An ordinary, undemanding, decent sort of man
Just one last thing, to make quite sure I find the perfect wife,
The successful applicant will be asked to complete the following sentence:
by Matt Harvey
The programme can be heard at