Poppy Fraser’s Poems for Children

Mother-of-four and all-round creative wonder, we loved Poppy Fraser’s cookbook 10 Minute Suppers for Children. Her next book is a collection of poems for children, as chosen by Poppy and friends. Divided up by theme, there are classic verse like William Blake’s Tyger Tyger Burning Bright, and Edward Lear’s Owl and the Pussycat as well as surprises – two speeches by Queen Elizabeth I that are full of love, quotes including President Kennedy’s definition of courage, ‘grace under pressure’, prayers and blessings – Christian, Islamic and Jewish, and sayings too.

In the preface to the book, Poppy mentions that her favourite poem in the collection is Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe. We asked her why, to which she answered,’I am romantic by nature, and always have been. I grew up in the Highlands, surrounded by hills and glens, and as a child I always loved the stories of love and romance. Annabel Lee is so powerful and beautiful. It combines the themes of ultimate pure love and death, in a heartbreaking combination, with the beauty of the natural world. The rhythm of the poem engages me instantly, and leaves me moved every time I read it. I couldn’t ask for more from a poem.’ Here it is:

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
   Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
   In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
   Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
   In her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Promise me the Stars, Poems for Children will be published on 5 September but you can order a copy now at www.poppyfraser.co.uk


Promise me the Stars, Poems for Children by Poppy Fraser
— Daisy Allsup
14th August 2019

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