A Poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company
Happy Poetry Friday! I have a rambly post today. I have to thank Kortney Garrison for her haiku oracle deck idea, which I made my mom for Mother's Day. Like Kortney, Basho was my poet of choice. (I used wallpaper samples to decorate the cards. I wish I had taken a picture!) I'm sure I'll make more.
On Twitter, writer Lauren Collins asked what poems people had memorized in school and what lines stuck. I was very interested in the answers! Many Brits of-a-certain-age memorized daffodils, If, Ozymandias, Dulce, Tyger. One person mentioned that Irish schoolchildren commonly learned Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney, which is a complete heartbreaker of a poem.
One of the most popular was Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost:
I memorized “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” by Shakespeare (from Julius Caesar, spoken by Marc Antony). I don't think I was particularly convincing, but my son could get me to follow him into battle with his rendition of Shakespeare's “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more” (from Henry V, spoken by King Henry).
My creepiest school poetry memory was arranged by a stern English teacher who I thought of as a character out of The Crucible...I was pretty sure she would have accused us all of being witches. Anyway, she had the entire class read/chant General William Booth Enters into Heaven by Vachel Lindsay, which had such juicy lines as "Vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath,
Unwashed legions with the ways of Death—"
Vachel Lindsay was a poet with range. I had fun reciting this poem of his with my kids:
The Little Turtle
by Vachel Lindsay
There was a little turtle.
He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
He climbed on the rocks.
He snapped at a mosquito.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.
He caught the mosquito.
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn't catch me.
Live Your Poem has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Irene!