Caught by the River

Woodnotes: The Warmth and Comfort of Poetry and Nonsense

Laura Cannell | 11th April 2020

Laura Cannell shares verse read by her dad in a Norfolk farmhouse.

When my sister and I were little, living in a cottage on the edge of a Norfolk marshland village, my dad would read us poems instead of stories as we headed off to sleep. He has a calm voice and a way with rhythm and words which came out through the poems of Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll and others.

We loved those poems and would request them; some of my favourites and earliest memories are poems by Edward Lear. We could both hear the poems as we shared a room that had a wooden divider but no door, so that we had our own space, our own tiny rooms.

Over the last few weeks as we are all in our separate spaces, only an hour away in reality but weeks away in physicality, he has started reading them again. But this time I asked if he would record them and send them over as I thought it might be a good time to share the readings – a calming bedtime story, or for when it all gets too much and we need an escape from our own heads.

He is antiques dealer who has always had a love for poetry, literature, and finds the beauty in the simple and intricate. He left school at 16, becoming a technical engineer for BT and at 36 went full time into self-employment, buying and selling antiques and handmade carpets. Antiques dealers all have tall tales to tell, and by default have to have a good imagination to see the beauty in the broken or the unloved. At the moment the shop is closed but the poetry and stories go on.

Recorded in the sticks in Norfolk, uploaded in Suffolk and available for anyone to enjoy, please find here Poems from a Norfolk Farmhouse, read by Mal Cannell.