World Poetry Day – 21 March

Question not, but live and labour

    Till yon goal be won,

Helping every feeble neighbour,

    Seeking help from none;

Life is mostly froth and bubble,

    Two things stand like stone;

Kindness in another’s trouble,

    Courage in your own.

On World Poetry Day – 21 March – if you re not familiar with the works of Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870), Australia’s national poet, and the only Australian to have a bust in Westminster Abbey, why not acquaint yourself now.

Besides being a poet, Gordon was an avid horseman, horse-breaker and jumps jockey who, in 1868 rode three steeplechase winners in one afternoon at Flemington. He was also a mounted police trooper and, from 1865-66 was a Member of the South Australian Legislative Assembly for the electorate of Victoria which included all the area from the Murray River to the SA/Victoiran border.

For more information, see the book Gordon of Dingley Dell: The life of Adam Lindsay Gordon at

World Poetry Day was proposed and adopted by UNESCO in 1999, at its 30th General Conference held in Paris to ‘give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements’.

The organisation hoped to inspire the celebration of poetry all over the world, preserve endangered languages, and stimulate poetic expression through this day. Poets, both past and present, are honoured, and oral traditions of reciting poetry are revived. Reading, writing, and teaching poetry are encouraged, and converged with other mediums of expression such as music, dance, painting, and more.

The ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’, from ancient Mesopotamia, is among the earliest works of documented poetry, dating from 2000-1200 BC.

World Poetry Day is recognised every year on 21 March, celebrating a linguistic expression that people from all cultures can identify with. Poetry can be found in the history of every nation, and brings us together under shared values and common humanity. The most basic of poems have the power to stir dialogue.

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