A night by the fire: Poems for Practical People

Anyone living in my part of the world is now digging out from one of the worst storms of the winter. But tonight, we will enjoy being safe and warm inside by the fire as the world around us sleeps silently in snow. This poem by William Cowper evokes the feeling that so many of us have on nights like this…

Domestic Enjoyment of a Winter Evening

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,

Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round!

And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn

Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,

Which cheer, but not inebriate, wait on each,

So let us welcome peaceful evening in.

~By William Cowper (English poet, 1731 – 1800)

hearth and home

This poem and illustration are from Poems for Practical People, gems from a rather odd poetry collection: Harrap’s Practical English Series, selected and arranged by Alfred Edward MacDuff Bayliss (George C. Harrap & Co. Ltd, 1951) and illustrated by N.C. Jaques.

This little English literature primer was owned and scribbled in by many students. One reader (possibly bored and aching for the bell to ring) doodled a more suitable title on the cover: “Poems for UnPractical People”:

poems for practical people

And what a bargain for only .50c!


    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it – I hope you are finding some coziness to help get through this cold Canadian winter. It’s funny, but I had never thought about a poem being practical until I saw this funny little book! But I love the concept! Is the converse true: poems for impractical people? I think that’s what the editor may be implying, and I find it endearing.

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