Rhyme and reason for exploring poetry

PUBLISHED: 13:00 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 May 2010

Alistair Burt MP

Alistair Burt MP

North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt continues his occasional series of articles looking at aspects of local life THERE are other ways to take your mind off being an MP than having to go in the Big Brother house. We are not much different to many ot

North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt continues his occasional series of articles looking at aspects of local life

THERE are other ways to take your mind off being an MP than having to go in the Big Brother house.

We are not much different to many others in busy, pressured jobs these days; everyone complains of being too much in demand from emails, meetings fill the diary and the snowball of life rolls downhill, ever larger.

However, as we are being inundated at the start of another year with advice about improving our diets/fitness/work-life balance and many other things, I wonder why no-one is recommending a simple five minutes with a book as a stress buster?

The reason I raise it is that last week was the occasion for Scots the world over to celebrate Burns Night, an annual toasting of Rabbie Burns, the country's most revered poet. We found time to do so in the House of Commons.

Burns' life and work is a mirror image of an old fashioned view of poets and poetry.

From his humble birth as the ploughman son of a poor farmer, he lived a full and romantic life, about which he wrote. Love poems, calls to arms, stories of the characters who filled his world, all filled with an understanding of human nature, and a love of the everyday man and woman. Five minutes in his company takes us away from our own, leaving us refreshed and ready for more.

In a world increasingly filled with the instant visual image, through TV, video or DVD, the written word retains its magic. Great Barford Lower School, which I visited last week, was full of children exploring words, songs and poems with enthusiasm.

Just because we get older we don't have to stop! Read a poem today, and another tomorrow, and I promise your day will be that bit brighter!

Alistair Burt MP

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