My ponder was tickled upon reading this article about the government's new meddle, I mean propositition concerning rote learning of poetry from the age of five in schools.
Here in France, poetry learning has been a part of the curriculum/dread of Sunday evening homework sessions for years. While some parents, especially from other cultures, question the validity of this, the schools explain that it helps with conjugating verbs, vocabulary, memory, etc.
Whether you are for or against, just have a little think about all the poems, and parts of, that you know off by heart.
Believe me or not but I can promise you google was left untouched and no poetry book (yes, I've got a couple) was harmed during the following experiment, but if I say to you "If you can keep your head", I'm sure you can follow up with a "when all around are losing theirs", you are probably aware that "she walks in beauty like the night and all that's best of starry climes meet in her aspect and her eyes", or something of the like.
You may be aware, especially if you recognise the image above, that "Gus is the cat at the theatre door, his name as I ought to have told you before is really Asparagus, but that's such a fuss to pronounce so we usually call him just Gus", and I won't bore you with all I could say about Jenny Anydots, or Shimbleshanks and his kind.
I personally got a kick in school the other day when talking Shakespeare with a class, of not only knowing that "to be or not to be" was indeed the question, but also wondering "whether 'tis nobler in the heart to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them..."
In fact, not only did I get a kick, I also got a standing ovation from year 10 as I managed most of Hamlet's fourth soliloquy based on learning it off by heart for my A-levels, just "a few" years ago. Admittedly the reason I learnt all Hamlet's soliloquies so well was the fact that my boyfriend at the time had written them on big, bright poster-size sheets of paper all around his room.
As a child I also loved, and learnt another poem called "Day is Done", by Longfellow I think it was.
The thing is, we enjoy remembering these bits and pieces of verses that come back to us, but at some point we must have learnt them by heart, is that such a bad thing?
What poems can you remember?