PICCADILLY CIRCUS’ famous neon lights will beam out verse on the hour every hour today as part of National Poetry Day.

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The poem chosen to fly the flag for the annual celebration of word-craft is Charles Causley’s I Am The Song*. Not everyone’s cup of tea, to be fair, but it does contain a couple of lines that match the occasion, almost literally in the case of “I am the fire that strikes the stone”, as well as the poet’s call to arms in the form of “I am the word that speaks the man”.

As the day’s founder William Sieghart explained: “National Poetry Day is all about discovery, finding poetry in your environment, and it’s refreshing that among the advertising messages of the Piccadilly lights, passers-by will find Charles Causley’s reminder of the power of human expression, a commodity that money can’t buy.”

While we’re on the wordy track, today also marks the first day of the Soho Literary Festival, which takes place at the Soho Theatre on Dean Street. Among the highlights are Dominic Sandbrook, promoting the book linked to his TV series The Seventies and former Prime Minister John Major, plugging My Old Man, his take on the history of music hall.

* I Am The Song

I am the song that sings the bird.
I am the leaf that grows the land.
I am the tide that moves the moon.
I am the stream that halts the sand.
I am the cloud that drives the storm.
I am the earth that lights the sun.
I am the fire that strikes the stone.
I am the clay that shapes the hand.
I am the word that speaks the man.