Here's a virtual movie of a recital of a sweet thoughtful little poem "Friends" by the English poetess Elizabeth Jennings. This concise wise little poem makes the point Everyone has acquaintances but not everyone truly has a best friend. Everyone needs that special person in his life. Acquaintances will tell you what you "want" to hear; but a real friend will tell you what you "need" to hear. Be a good friend to someone and someone will be a good friend to you.
Elizabeth Jennings (18 July 1926 -- 26 October 2001) was an English poet. she was born in Boston, Lincolnshire. When she was six, her family moved to Oxford, where she remained for the rest of her life. There she later attended St Anne's College. After graduation, she became a librarian.
It was a yellow voice, a high, shrill treble in the nursery
White always and high, I remember it so,
White cupboard, off-white table, mugs, dolls' faces
And I was four or five. The garden could have been
Miles away. We were taken down to the green
Asparagus beds, the cut lawn, and the smell of it
Comes each summer after rain when white returns. Our bird,
A canary called Peter, sang behind bars. The black and white cat
Curled and snoozed by the fire and danger was far away.
From "A Bird in the House"
in Collected Poems (Carcanet, 1987)
Jennings' early poetry was published in journals such as Oxford Poetry, New English Weekly, The Spectator, Outposts and Poetry Review, but her first book was not published until she was 27. The lyrical poets she cited as having influenced her were Hopkins, Auden, Graves and Muir. Her second book, A Way of Looking, won the Somerset Maugham award and marked a turning point, as the prize money allowed her to spend nearly three months in Rome, which was a revelation. It brought a new dimension to her religious belief and inspired her imagination.
Regarded as traditionalist rather than an innovator, Jennings is known for her lyric poetry and mastery of form. Her work displays a simplicity of metre and rhyme shared with Philip Larkin, Kingsley Amis and Thom Gunn, all members of the group of English poets known as The Movement. She always made it clear that, whilst her life, which included a spell of severe mental illness, contributed to the themes contained within her work, she did not write explicitly autobiographical poetry. Her deeply held Roman Catholicism coloured much of her work.
She died in a care home in Bampton, Oxfordshire and is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford.
All rights are reserved on this video recording copyright Jim Clark 2012
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