There many good reasons to memorize a poem or two (or so I have read). They may provide insight or inspiration, even comfort in times of stress. Of course it’s good for your brain to memorize, also. Sometimes it’s just fun. We had to memorize poems in 6th grade at Urbana Local school. I chose – from a book of silly poems – one of the shortest. I still remember it:
Timothy Tompkins had turnips and tea.
The turnips were tiny.
He ate at least three.
And then, for dessert,
he had onions and ice.
He liked that so much
that he ordered it twice.
He had two cups of ketchup,
a prune, and a pickle.
“Delicious,” said Timothy.
“Well worth a nickel.”
He folded his napkin
and hastened to add,
“It’s one of the loveliest breakfasts I’ve had!”
And thanks to Google, I now know the writer and at least one source:
From Dogs and Dragons, Trees and Dreams, by Karla Kuskin, Sesame Street, Sept 1984.
How odd that that it says 1984, but I would have memorized it in 1972. Seriously. That’s when I was in the 6th grade.
Lyrics are poetry, so I know that I can remember verse – at least if I’m singing it. Psalms (a book in the Bible) is also poetry. I know many people who have memorized Bible verses. (Probably also a comfort in times of stress.)
There must be a list of “great poems to know” and my next task will be to find it. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I’ll be starting with T. S. Eliot’s “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.”
What pomes do you love?