I began memorizing poetry many years ago, specifically for the purpose of reciting in the car. When my children were young, reciting poetry was a great tool to use when they were getting really loud, in that escalating noise that occasionally occurs with a pair of pre-schoolers in the back seat.
On the approach to a busy intersection requiring a left turn and my undivided attention, for example, it was highly effective to say, “Boys! I am going to say a poem. Would you rather hear ‘The Meeting’ or ‘The Wind and The Leaves’?” I’d offer a pair of random titles. They were used to this. “The Wind and The Leaves, The Wind and The Leaves!” my eldest would happily call out, with my younger one singing his agreement.
I could more easily focus on driving the three of us safely through important intersections and heavy traffic while reciting a poem, than when being inundated with an increasing din of hearty childhood exuberance. It worked like a charm, providing me with quiet as I essentially told them a story, which just so happened to rhyme.
Memorizing a poem takes up ‘real estate’ in the brain, so to speak. Plus, it was like pouring words into my children’s minds, so I’ve always selected poems for memorization carefully. Here is my criteria. It has to be something that lifts my spirits, tells a story, and preferably rhymes. I would tape the page of poetry to the cupboard above my kitchen sink and work on memorizing it as I washed the dishes. Saying the stanzas over and over, picturing the story the poet was telling, imprinting it permanently into memory. I went through a stage in my twenties when I was memorizing a new poem every month. Not surprisingly, it was around this time in my life that I began creating my own poetry.
In celebration of inspirational poetry, I’m beginning a new component of this blog. I shall start sharing all the poems I have memorized! It will be a growing list, but as enticement here is a list of the poems I have memorized to date and will be sharing soon. This list is by no means exhaustive, and only includes the ones I’ve memorized, not my favorites. THAT would be a much longer list! For the poems previously posted, click the link to view the poem.
Sermons We See, Edgar A. Guest (see post)
It Couldn’t Be Done, Edgar A. Guest (see post)
Myself, Edgar A. Guest
The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
The Wind and The Leaves, George Cooper (see post)
Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, Verna Aardema (see post)
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
The Meeting, Rachel Field (see post)
Vestigia, Bliss Carman
Roadside Flowers, Bliss Carman
The Old Grey Wall, Bliss Carman
Before The Snow, Bliss Carman
Here and Now, Bliss Carman
The Winds of Fate, Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Solitude, Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Trees, Joyce Kilmer
Barter, Sara Teasdale (see post)
Starry Heavens, Robert Montgomery (see post)
Flying Crooked, Robert Graves (see post)
I Want You, Arthur Gillom
Don’t Quit, unknown author
I Know Something Good About You, Louis C. Shimon (view Jan Beek’s post)
Book of Luke 2:7-14 ~The Christmas Story
The Prayer of Saint Francis (see post)
The Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13
The Prayer of Jesus, Mark Lloyd Richardson (view his post)
My Prayer, unknown author (see post)
The Difference, unknown author (see post)
My own poems that I have memorized:
My Two Gifts (see post)
Rainy Remembrance (see post)
Shine (see post)
Freedom (see post)
Overflow (see post)
The Gifts of Autumn
Giving Thanks (see post)
Copyright protected poetry. For personal use only.
Do not change or use commercially without prior written permission.