Today I woke up and was in the mood for some poetry-reading, as the snow was gently falling down outside my window and my head ached terribly. My main problem was that I just couldn't choose between Yeats' mythical fairy-like poems or Tennyson's classic and undying writings, so I chose to settle upon this, which seemed (and was!) an agreeable compromise as it contained both.
"Penguin's Poems for Life" has a rather ambitious aim: to document and illustrate all aspect of life in various poems. It starts brilliantly with simplistic (and optimistic) poems such as "The End" by A. A. Milne and ends with poems of nostalgic longing and melancholia such as "Grayheaded Schoolchildren" by Charles Simic, giving a perfect impression of life's never-ending circular movements.
The poems are well-chosen, and covers many aspects of life in between growing up and growing old. First kisses, last kisses, school days and dull jobs are all represented and dwelled upon in a stunningly harmonious symphony.
Among my favorites were:
"You're" by Sylvia Plath
"Children's Song" by R. S. Thomas
"Jardin du Luxembourg" by Derek Mahon
"Rules and Regulations" by Lewis Carroll
"If" by Rudyard Kipling
"Mataatua" by Kirsty Gunn
"I like my body when it is with your body" by E. E. Cummings
"Dolor" by Theodore Roethke
"I Held You in the Square" by Ben Okri
"Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white" from "The Princess" by Lord Alfred Tennyson
"Love Poem" by Lemn Sissay
"To Autumn" by John Keats
"Warning" by Jenny Joseph
"When You Are Old" by W. B. Yeats
"Piano" by D. H. Lawrence
"Remembrance" by Emily Brontë
"Comparisons" by R. S. Thomas