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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Challenge #2


Our family used to drive six hours to visit our cousins for the holidays, and to help pass the time, my mom and I would nerd out and memorize poems. The first one we chose was this picker-upper from Emily Dickinson. I still remember every word.

So, for the second fall challenge, let's each memorize a favorite poem by next Thursday. How amazing to have beautiful words bouncing around your head. What do you think? Are you in?

P.S. Rudyard Kipling's If and Mary Oliver's Wild Geese are both beautiful...

(Photo by the wonderful Kari Herer; graphic design by Rachel for Cup of Jo)

123 comments:

Suzanne said...

Sounds like a fun idea! I think I might memorize a passage of scripture from the Bible. Many of the old testament psalms are very poetic and moving (I think many of them were written to be songs if I'm not mistaken) now to select one! Great idea!

Erin said...

I have a pesky memory and can memorize almost anything without really trying (trust me, this gets REALLY annoying) so I humbly accept this challenge ;)

Rachel Powell said...

I used to memorize poetry for competitions in elementary school! I still have fond memories of those- even though I don't remember them all.

Rumi is my favorite - he has some short ones that stick in your head and always inspire.

My favorite line of his poems I've read is

"Let the beauty we love be what we do"

Deanna Pai said...

I memorized Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 and ee cummings' You Being In Love... for a class in college; it was one of the best things I ever did. You wouldn't BELIEVE how boys react when I recite either over a beer--it's like I'm from another planet (in a good way!).

I'd love to memorize either The Walrus and the Carpenter or Eliot's J. Alfred Prufrock, but both are dauntingly long...

erica lorraine scheidt said...

Yes! I'm in. I memorized Danse Russe by William Carlos Williams awhile back and doing it has given me so much. Lovely. I'll pick something right away. O'Hara? Morning, maybe.

Yay.

Connie Chung said...

This challenge is wonderful! It will be a great and welcome change of pace from the science that I consume constantly. T.S. Eliot and some Pablo Neruda for times when I need some woo-ing words.

Coco said...

We used to memorize Shel Silverstien's poems! "I cannot go to school today, said little Maryann McKay. I have the measles and the mumps, a gash a rash and purple bumps!"

Corrie Anne said...

I love this challenge. I can't believe it, but I don't think I have a single poem memorized! Off to hunt for one!

Kayla said...

My favorite memorized poem is also by Dickinson.

"Faith" is a fine invention
For gentlemen who see—
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency.

(that's an easy one readers might want to try!)

Abigail Leigh said...

I memorized "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe and "Dulce Et Decorum Est" a couple years ago. So long and tragic. This is such a great idea!

Charmaine said...

Ha, that will be difficult for me. My favourite poem is The Lady of Shalott by Lord Alfred Tennyson. It's super long!...I suppose I could always put Loreena McKennitt's version of it on repeat on my Ipod; they say things are easier to memorize if it in a song.

Sarah @ Two Blue Lemons said...

I'm loving these! I still remember a Paul Revere poem from 5th grade "1 if by land, 2 if by sea..." That's what you get growing up in Massachusetts!

Lauren Fraley said...

My professor at Columbia called this kind of memorization investing in your own "mental furniture", a phrase that I'll never forget. He had memorized most of Shakespeare's sonnets, and said that he loved the idea that he would always have those great words as furniture to sit his thoughts on in his head, even in old age.

agapelife said...

I kid you not, I was just thinking about doing this this morning. I'm totally in!

trinaenriquez said...

I love this idea—it's very Jackie Kennedy Onassis. :) Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden also did this...furnishing the library of the mind, where you can pick and choose what you want to "read" inside your head whenever you have a down moment (waiting in line, going for a stroll...). Thanks for these challenges. Btw, I made it through only one day of not watching TV, but doing without it does totally stretch your sense of time! Now I remember why I used to not pay for cable when I was still living in an apartment—to force myself to go out and do things instead of staying in all the time.

Elisabeth said...

I recently memorized Theodore Roethke's "I Knew A Woman" because some of the images are just so beautiful! My husband also memorized the poem and it's fun to quote lines from the poem to reference other things as a sort of inside joke. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172104

laursy said...

That sounds like a beautiful idea. When I was in grade school we had to memorize a new song from the book of Praise and 5-10 verses from the Bible every week. Maybe I should look back and see if I can still do them by heart :)

Betsy said...

"Litany" by Billy Collins. Inspired by that adorable 3-year-old.

Erica C. said...

I'm game! I think I'll memorize one in Spanish even! I'm a Spanish teacher, but this year I'm teaching level 1 and feel very starved for challenging vocabulary. This will be perfect!

rawketstarling said...

how lovely! I have a few already memorized, but that's the English major in me :) Love NERUDA and Whitman.

Emikos Werid Unexplained thoughts said...

Im in im great memorizing under pressure thats how i remembered the preamble lol

DanaB said...

Great idea--I'm in, too! Now to decide on a poem...

~~

Molly said...

Great idea and utterly gorgeous photo - so moody.

Kelly said...

Thank you for this challenge! My grandpa's 90th birthday is next month and my mom always recalls him walking around reciting "Invictus" -- I think I know what I'm going to do for him for his birthday :)

STURLA.WOMACK said...

How fun! In High School, we memorized Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town by e.e. cummings. And then we analyzed every word - which was incredibly interesting to dig into e.e's meanings of everyday words. It's a bit long, but it tells a story...

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

LC said...

My favorite - an ode to night owls!

Fly Not Yet

Fly not yet-'tis just the hour
When pleasure, like the midnight flower,
That scorns the eye of vulgar light,
Begins to bloom for sons of night,
And maids who love the moon!
'Twas but to bless these hours of shade
That beauty and the moon were made;
'Tis then their soft attractions glowing
Set the tides and goblets flowing!
O! stay-O! stay-
Joy so seldom weaves a chain
Like this tonight, that O! 'tis pain
To break its links so soon.

Thomas Moore

Jennifer said...

Oh! I've always been a little sad that reciting and memorising poetry is no longer commonplace at schools. Growing up, I was a tiny bit jealous of characters who could recite reams of poetry at a drop of a hat in books, and fascinated by just how ordinary it was until quite recently. I only know a couple of poems and a few remnants of Shakespeare off by heart, so perhaps I should get going! I also don't have a tv (+ I have been super busy this week), so the first challenge was really easy for me haha!

PS. The two poems are "Plum", a children's poem about... a plum! and Yeats' Cloths of Heaven. Two very short poems!

Nina Leung said...

Super idea! I've always wanted to do this and never made the time for it. Now I have no excuse, I MUST do it!

I first learned of memorizing poems for fun when I heard an interview with Ashley Judd on NPR. She said she memorized a new poem every week! I always thought that was such a great way to connect with poetry and to really fully ingest a poem and it's meaning.

Thank you for this challenge! Let's so if I follow through!

AM said...

I just read "If" by Kipling the other day and bookmarked it, so very ironic that you mentioned it. Maybe I'll chose that one :)

Molls said...

While If by Kipling is one of my favorite poems, its length intimidates me, so I went searching for new ones and found a list from The Times: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/poetrycompetition/article3229711.ece?page=2.

Thanks for the great idea! I haven't tried to memorize a poem since O Captain, My Captain and The Village Blacksmith in elementary school.

Dulce said...

i love this challenge, i'm in :)

Kate Harvey said...

This is a beautiful idea!! I think I will memorize a favorite poem of mine, also by Emily Dickinson, called "I never saw a Moor."

abigail jane schrag said...

If a 2 year old can memorize Billy Collins "Litany", than I can certainly memorize a poem as well. Although, 2 year olds can do a lot of things I can't do. Like sing in public.

LC said...

And a great source of inspiration:

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2012/10/19

Jaime said...

Love this!
In 5th grade we memorized "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost and I still know it by heart.

www.jaimerovenstine.com

The Gold Standard said...

What a wonderful idea. I had to do this in elementary school several times. Mother to Son by Langston Hughes was my favorite poem. It is both beautiful and humbling. You should read it.
Kia

Sofia Reimchen said...

This is perfect! Finally a nudge to memorize some Pushkin :)

hannah_byrd said...

Ooh, yes! I think I'll join in on this one. I used to compete in UIL Oral Reading in elementary and junior high school. You have to read a poem for the judges. I might do the Wild Geese one.

LoveCookies said...

The one poem I have memorized is one my best friend wrote for me when we were twelve :) Here goes:

Her heart was made of leather so it wouldn't break
Her skin was made of porcelain to hide the leather
But in rainy weather
The hidden cries
Through those blueberry eyes

bridget anne said...

my dad would read us rudyard kipling's "if" every night. being an english major caused me to accidentally memorize poems all the time -- i'll go find a new one and report back thursday. : )

posse said...

i think i will memorize "the trouble with poetry" by billy collins.

oh, and mary oliver is just wonderful.

Erin said...

Great idea Suzanne! I've been wanting to learn so many of the passages in Psalms, but haven't been dedicated enough to do it!

thesemiprofessional.blogspot.com

kristina said...

Hi Joanna! Rudyard Kipling definitely holds a place in my heart too. :) In our final year of undergrad, we attempted to memorize the obligation he wrote for The Ritual of the Calling of the Engineer (but we had little cards with it printed during the ceremony in case of memory lapse):

I, (name), in the presence of these my betters and my equals in my Calling, bind myself upon my Honour and Cold Iron, that, to the best of my knowledge and power, I will not henceforward suffer or pass, or be privy to the passing of, Bad Workmanship or Faulty Material in aught that concerns my works before mankind as an Engineer, or in my dealings with my own Soul before my Maker.

My Time I will not refuse; my Thought I will not grudge; my Care I will not deny toward the honor, use, stability and perfection of any works to which I may be called to set my hand.

My fair Wages for that work I will openly take. My Reputation in my Calling I will honourably guard; but I will in no way go about to compass or wrest judgement or gratification from anyone with whom I may deal. And further, I will early and warily strive my uttermost against professional jealousy or the belittling of my working-colleagues in any field of their labour.

For my assured failures and derelictions, I ask pardon beforehand of my betters and my equals in my Calling here assumbled; praying that in the hour of my temptations, weakness, and weariness, the memory of this my Obligation and of the company before whom it was entered into, may return to me to aid, comfort, and restrain.

Upon Honour and Cold Iron, God helping me, by these things I purpose to abide.

Here is more information on the ceremony he helped to develop in case you're interested: http://www.ironring.ca/background.php

Anna Woodward said...

I once read (or possibly heard from a professor??) that memorizing a poem is the best way to enjoy poetry. Once its in your mind, committed to memory, it will resurface and take on new meanings in various circumstances. In a moment of stress/anxiety/emotion, it will bubble up and give great enlightenment to your situation.

marybeth said...

This is a great idea. I've never memorized one and it has always made me feel a bit lacking. Here's a good one for the changing seasons.

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes' sake along the wall.

-Robert Frost

Allie said...

Wild Geese is my all time favorite poem! I will definitely be doing this.

NotesFromAbroad said...

My heart is warm with friends I make
and better friends I'll not be knowing;
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
No matter where it's going .

Edna St Vincent Millay

This calls to me on so many different levels :)

Melody Rowell said...

YES!

I'm going to work on "Aimless Love" by Billy Collins.

I dare someone to do the Jabberwocky!

msp said...

This makes me think of I've Got A Rocket In My Pocket. Did anyone else ever read that?

margaux said...

wonderful idea! something to do on the bus ride in to work!

my choice:

Otherwise
by Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

chocolateprn said...

i love this idea. i am 30, and still remember every word of two poems i memorized in the 4th grade. in canada, the creamation of sam mcgee is a very popular poem memorized in school. my husband had to memorize this one. we just looked it up and it is so long, and an interesting choice for children!
love this. what a special thing to do with your child(ren)

katilda said...

the only poem i ever memorized (and still know it to this day) is as follows: I never saw a purple cow, I never hope to see one. But if I saw one anyhow, I'd rather see than be one.

Katherine Fugit said...

One of my best friends knows every word to "The Trail's End" by Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde fame). It's insanely long (http://allpoetry.com/poem/8564129-The_Trails_End-by-Bonnie_Parker) and it's very eerie. I ask her to recite it all of the time and she doesn't mind at all. It's an incredible thing to be able to do.

Katherine Fugit said...

One of my best friends knows every word to "The Trail's End" by Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde fame). It's insanely long (http://allpoetry.com/poem/8564129-The_Trails_End-by-Bonnie_Parker) and it's very eerie. I ask her to recite it all of the time and she doesn't mind at all. It's an incredible thing to be able to do.

Joanna said...

what a great idea! my favourite poem is "love is not all":

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/love-is-not-all/

isn't it beautiful? i think i will try to memorize it :)

Jessica said...

I've always been proud to have Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 memorized, but I will totally take this challenge. Mayhaps
make my little one memorize one with me (she's 4)...

gabrilea said...

best idea ever. I and mum used to remember poems:)Definitely in !!!!

Matthew Wilkens said...

I love this! I think anything by William Blake is fun.

Anna said...

Something from Traveling Light by Linda Pastan maybe?

junebug said...

This is the motivation I needed. My kids and I memorized Sonnet 18 this summer (nothing cuter than a 5-year-old quoting Shakespeare), and I think we're ready to go again. With only one week, it will have to be shorter than a sonnet; at least for this crowd. xox

Paulina said...

I'm in. Great challenge.

Tara said...

Thank you ~ furniture of the mind... I like that image. I am going to memorize "The Song" by William Blake so I will have something to share with my future little one. He/she is yet to be conceived, but I like preparing.

Megan said...

"My mouth is wet, my throat is dry. I'm going blind in my right eye!"
Haha, that's one of the few poems I've memorized too. :)

Rachel Newman said...

This is a little silly, but sometimes when I'm alone at bus stops, I quietly recite poems I memorized in acting school. It passes the time, calms my nerves, and maybe wards off anyone looking to mug me (who wants to mug a crazy person?)

athomewithbethany said...

Haha! I memorized that poem when I was younger, boy is it a crazy story! Love it.

onebiterule.com said...

To Autumn by John Keats. Always wanted to know that one by heart.

athomewithbethany said...

Oh, I love this challenge! I memorized dozens of poems when I was a teenager, inspired by my uncle.

Maybe for this challenge I'll review some of the poems I memorized ... "If" was one of them, lots by Longfellow, Stopping by Woods, some Shakespearean sonnets. I can't even remember what all I had memorized, but I wrote them all in a notebook (wish I still had it). The best thing about a memorized poem is, even if you "forget" it for a while, a couple times through and you remember it again.

Also, if you memorize some fun poems you will realize the GENIUS of poems for keeping kids entertained. That's what my uncle did and I have so many memories of listening to him recite poems. Dr. Seuss wrote great ones, my favorite is Yertle the Turtle. And then there's "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out," and "Sick" ("I cannot go to school today / said little Peggy Ann McKay")...both by Shel Silverstein. These are MUSTS! And, of course, Jabberwocky :)

Crèmebrûlivin said...

In! With The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Samantha said...

I am an elementary school teacher and we memorize poems together as a class. So far this year we have memorized 'Treehouse' by Shel Silverstein and an Emily Dickinson Poem. We are working on a third one right now. Every year in January we have a 'Poetry Party' and we invite the parents to come and listen to the kids recite poetry. It is really sweet and a great way to get them thinking about language in that way. :)

Tiffany said...

I can't memorize things, my brain won't cooperate BUT i will definitely take this challenge! As i did the first one too! Although I kind of cheated there since I have stopped watching tv for months now :)

Ceciel T said...

Love this-will challenge my brain in a way that is different from my everyday. Going with Lake Isle of Innsfree, Yeats bc it reminds me of my sweet husband and memorizing poetry is romantic, isn't it?

Ceciel T said...

Whoops-Innisfree

lizzie bee said...

What a lovely metaphor, Lauren! :) Most of Shakespeare's sonnets means he had quite a bit of furniture up there!

lizzie bee said...

I love this idea too! In high school I memorized Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 for extra credit in English class one year and I love that I still know every word. This challenge will give me something lovely to do while waiting for the train!

TaraSayWhat? said...

I can get behind this idea! I'm shooting to memorize "Flockprinter" by Buddy Wakefield. He's more a spoken word artist, but he is major hardcore. Go check him out sometime!

Yelle said...

I adore this idea! Not sure if I will be able to swing it by next week (midterm and two weddings this weekend!) but I remember once I memorized a French poem in high school. I remember how lovely it was to so eloquently be able to recite it.

Sami said...

I think I will memorize this one by Arundhati Roy:

To love.
To be loved.
To never forget your own insignificance,
To never get used to the unspeakable violence
and the vulgar disparity of life around you.
To seek joy in the saddest places.
To pursue beauty to its lair.
To never simplify what is complicated
or complicate what is simple.
To respect strength, never power.
Above all, to watch.
To try and understand.
To never look away.
And never, never to forget.

Jade Sheldon said...

I remember having to memorize a poem in the 8th grade for my lit class. We had to select a poem, memorize it, recite it for the class and then create something based on that poem. I chose "God's Garden" by Robert Frost and decided to make a painting. I think my mom still has it hanging in her family room. To this day, I can still recite the poem. It's so lovely:

http://allpoetry.com/poem/8469235-Gods_Garden-by-Robert_Frost

Amy said...

I have a terrible memory, but this is actually on my bucket list. I'm hoping by memorizing one, I'll be able to work at memorizing many!! Yay. Great challenge!

Morgan Liti said...

I love this challenge! :) I'm in.

Morgan
seemomogo.blogspot.com

zeebee31 said...

What a great challenge! I'm going to rally some of my girlfriends to join too!

Mercia said...

What a wonderful idea! I am going on a long trip soon, what a wonderful way to fill the time instead of reading magazines, or something silly. To come home instead with a head full of poetry!

Mercia said...

What a wonderful idea! I am going on a long trip soon, what a wonderful way to fill the time instead of reading magazines, or something silly. To come home instead with a head full of poetry!

Caro Peguero said...

i memorized the love song of j. alfred prufrock back in high school for an assignment in english lit class where we had to choose a poem to orate from memory to the class... it's always been my favorite poem, and i could have picked anything 30 seconds long, but i went for that one. clocked in at around 7 minutes. i've forgotten much of it (so many years past) but i think i'll memorize it again! it really is so beautiful.

3edesign said...

What a charming idea. I've tried reading from a Child's Garden of Verses to my 16 month old and she isn't into it yet.
~Eliina

Courtney H. said...

My high school students had to memorize a poem or two every quarter to help with memory and public speaking. It worked wonders! "If" was one of those they had to memorize.

Rachel said...

I think I'll give "Yes" or "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry a try.

kate365til30 said...

What an amazing challenge! LOVE THIS!! I'm on it!
www.365til30.com

Arielle said...

That's a beautiful line. Thank you for sharing that.

Kate Bowen said...

This is a beautiful idea, and the poem "If" is one that I would love to be able to recall throughout my life as a great guidepost. Thanks for thinking of this :)

bouff said...

Here's a link to a recent NPR interview with Mary Oliver http://www.npr.org/2012/10/14/162785079/a-thousand-mornings-with-poet-mary-oliver

I think I'll memorize the title poem, "a thousand mornings"

Vicky said...

I love this idea, I'm in!

Hollan Mitchell said...

This is such a brilliant idea! Thanks for reminding I have "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll memorized! (and thank you too, 7th grade lit. class!)

zara said...

I'm in! That would be Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Secret of the Sea for me.

Lynn said...

This is such a cute idea it made me tear up. Go for it!

Christina said...

I love it! I'm in! Now to pick the poem...

Emily said...

I'm a big believer in memorizing poems - it's so wonderfu, as you said, to have these beautiful words at your disposal whenever you want them. I'm not a great fan of Edgar Allan Poe, but his poetry is really satisfying to rattle off at a rapid pace!

Katie said...

Oh, I want to! I like memorizing poems that are really meant to be spoken aloud... Shakespeare works, though I always think of Frank O'Hara's "POEM (Lana Turner has collapsed!)."

Mihaeko said...

Oh, this is a really good one. I can count on one hand the times I've heard someone recite a poem from memory, and they're some of the most magical moments of my life. One in particular, we had gone sledding at night immediately following a daytime blizzard. We'd sledded our hearts out and were slowly trudging our way back to the car, through the woods, half of us riding on sleds which the rest were pulling. One of the group recited a poem that I recognized but have since forgotten. But we were happy and tired and cold on the outside in the dark quiet snowy woods and time stood breathlessly still while he spoke.

fillthewell said...

I love this! I've really connected with the poem "The Journey" by Mary Oliver lately. I'd love to call it up from memory any time I'd like.

CJ

Valerie Marie said...

I agree. I thought about memorizing a Bible passage as well; however I have been wanting to expand my literary skills. I think this is the perfect challenge.

Valerie Marie said...

I love this challenge! I had been wanting to expand my reading, but I never knew where to start. This is such a great challenge.

Emmanuelle said...

Wow! Thanks so much for sharing that! It's such a nice image.

As for me, I love this challenge because I'm about halfway through memorizing "adam's fall" by Yeats and this will really put the fire under me!

For those who want something short and sweet, I suggest Wordsworth's "my heart leaps up" or Byron's "she walks in beauty". If you want something a little more macabre, Plath's "résumé" is great. And if you want something a little more old english, Chaucer's prologue to Canterbury tales is fun to recite. You can find help with pronunciation on YouTube :)

Emmanuelle said...

Wow! Thanks so much for sharing that! It's such a nice image.

As for me, I love this challenge because I'm about halfway through memorizing "adam's fall" by Yeats and this will really put the fire under me!

For those who want something short and sweet, I suggest Wordsworth's "my heart leaps up" or Byron's "she walks in beauty". If you want something a little more macabre, Plath's "résumé" is great. And if you want something a little more old english, Chaucer's prologue to Canterbury tales is fun to recite. You can find help with pronunciation on YouTube :)

So R. said...

yes i am in! i like this challenge :)

lacey said...

Between the political debates and the Yankees ... I couldn't commit to challenge #1. However, I LOVE this idea of the Fall challenges so I am very excited to participate in #2. No joke, just yesterday I saw a movie where someone recited some poetry and I thought "I need to do that!" Thanks Joanna for the inspiration!

Here's what I'll be memorizing:


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

- Author unknown

So R. said...

i like this one! can you plase name the title? and... may i also use it for the challenge? :)

Unknown said...

Great Idea! I read that in the communist time in Romania the intellectuals who were imprisoned recited poems to one another to help survive there. They also had "classes" for different foreign languages and history, geography (they were teacher, professors, priests, students...) I was always moved by this attitude in such hardship.
Thank you, Joanna!

Saretta said...

I think I will use this challenge as an excuse to go out and find a great book of poetry for my bookshelf! It's something I have been meaning to do for far too long.

melle-belle said...

Do you mean the poem that starts, "Razors pain you, rivers are damp"? That's Dorothy Parker. :) "One Perfect Rose" by her is also great, short and snide, just the way I like it.

Janie said...

I think I'll do Superbly Situated by Robert Hershon. Love with a sense of humour.

Sweet Li'l Gal said...

The whole piece is too long, but I've always wanted to be able to think of the second part of Thoreau's Friendship: http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/thoreau/13128

Unknown said...

My first poem ever memorized was Sick, by Shel Silverstein. I rehearsed and rehearsed and tried it one morning on my parents. They thought it was so cute that they just let me stay home :)

I am going to try to memorize a simple poem in Italian, as I am trying to learn the language. Cool challenge!

anna said...

Do children's books count? I already know at least seven rhyming kids stories off by heart!

punit unisense said...

Im in, and i love this one!,

Much as he left it when he went from us
Here was the room again where he had been
So long that something oh him should be seen,
Or felt-and so it was. Incredulous,
I turned about, loath to be greeted thus,
And there he was in his old chair, serene
As ever, and as laconic as lean
As when he lived, and as cadaverous.

Calm as he was of old when we were young,
He sat there gazing at the pallid flame
Before him. 'And how far will this go on?'
I thought. He felt the failure of my tongue,
And smiled: 'I was not here until you came;
And I shall not be here when you are gone.'

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Second Floor Flat said...

I've been toying with the idea of taking an English Lit class for fun. You know, similar to what you would've studied in high school or college but again to refresh my memory. A once-more-with-feeling idea. Your challenge of memorizing a poem fits right in with my English Lit idea, so I'll have to try it!

Heldine said...

I love poems! In elementary school, we had poetry memorizing contests every year. Whoever memorized and "performed" (in a way) a poem the best was the winner of each class. I won (or was in the top 3) every time. :) Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet. So I will probably revisit her poems and memorize one of them. :)

http://heldine.tumblr.com

allie said...

richard brautigan, william carlos williams, rumi. short and sweet, and rhythmic to memorize.

Heidi said...

This has been one of my personal goals for as while now, although I've only managed to memorize one (Bright Star by Keats). You're completely right; it really is wonderful to have those words surface in your mind when you least expect it. Great challenge and I'm off to look for my poem!

Eva Ricci said...

I had memorized this one in High School or was ir college...it's been too long LOL. I was so drawn to it. I have forgotten most of it. SO this will be my poem to memorize and remember.

My Love Is Like To Ice

My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more I her entreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
And feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
And ice, which is congeal's with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.

Edmund Spenser

I'm new to your site and already loving it.

eva

Auxi said...

I memorized "If" when I was a little girl in Spanish and it is amazing!! I remember every word:
Si puedes llevar la cabeza sobre los hombros
bien puesta cuando otros la pierden y por ello
te culpan;
Si puedes confiar en tí cuando todos de tí dudan,
pero tomas en cuenta sus dudas;
Si puedes esperar sin que te canse la espera,
o soportar calumnias sin pagar con la misma
moneda,
o ser odiado sin dar cabida al odio,
y no por eso parecer demasiado bueno o sabio;

David bone said...

wow great i have read many articles about this topic and everytime i learn something new i dont think it will ever stop always new info , Thanks for all of your hard work! hgh

Amy said...

My tonsils are as big as rocks, I've counted sixteen chicken pox! Oh wait, one more that's seventeen and don't you think my face looks green?

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