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The Best Poems about Holidays

The greatest poems about vacations

Holidays can be a time for the family to spend time together, a time to get away from it all. Poets aren’t naturally drawn to happy times as a fit subject for poetry, but nevertheless they have occasionally treated the subject of holidays and vacations – whether the Christmas holidays, or summer holidays. Here are six of the very best holiday poems.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ‘Holidays’. This sonnet by the author of ‘The Song of Hiawatha’ reminds us of the etymology of the word ‘holiday’ as ‘holy day’. The ‘holiest’ of holidays are the ones we keep by ourselves, the ‘secret anniversaries of the heart’. Holidays, then, are less about going away somewhere different and having fun, and more a state of mind, a feeling, an act of remembrance and self-discovery. This holiday poem, then, is a world away from the image of the family by the seaside with a bucket and spade – it’s about an inner peace that holiday time can bring. ‘The holiest of all holidays are those / Kept by ourselves in silence and apart; / The secret anniversaries of the heart…’ Read the rest of this entry

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10 of the Best Poems about Wine

The finest wine poems

‘Wine is bottled poetry.’ So said the Victorian poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson; and, indeed, over the centuries numerous poets have waxed lyrical about the juice of the vine. Below are ten of the finest poems about wine.

Ben Jonson, ‘Song: To Celia’. Beginning ‘Drink to me only with thine eyes’, this is one of Ben Jonson’s most famous ‘song’ poems – probably the most famous. Like a number of poems on this list it uses drinking wine as a metaphor for enjoying life – in this case, the companionship and affection of the poem’s addressee, Celia.

Percy Shelley, ‘The Vine-Shroud’. Short enough to be quoted below here in full, ‘The Vine-Shroud’ is little more than a fragment, but it carries a certain poetic power with its commingling of the vine (representing life?) and the shroud (denoting death):

Flourishing vine, whose kindling clusters glow
Beneath the autumnal sun, none taste of thee;
For thou dost shroud a ruin, and below
The rotting bones of dead antiquity. Read the rest of this entry

10 of the Best Poems about Food

The greatest food poems in English

Looking for a good poem to read before dinner? Poets have often sung the praises of their favourite fruits, or meals, or sweet and tasty treats. Below we’ve chosen ten of the very best poems about food, dinner, fruit, and other fine morsels.

Ben Jonson, ‘Inviting a Friend to Supper’. Many poets have flattered their patrons, but few have written poems inviting them to dine with them. But that’s exactly what the poet and playwright Ben Jonson does in ‘Inviting a Friend to Supper’ – the friend in question being his patron, William Herbert, the Earl of Pembroke.

Jonathan Swift, ‘Cooking Poem: How I Shall Dine’. This rare gem of a poem isn’t readily available elsewhere online, so we’ve included it below instead. There aren’t many great poems celebrating mutton, so we hope you enjoy this one.

Gently blow and stir the fire,
Lay the mutton down to roast,
Dress it nicely I desire,
In the dripping put a toast,
That I hunger may remove:
Mutton is the meat I love. Read the rest of this entry