What lines of poetry, speeches, etc. are you proud of knowing by heart?
My mother was a bit eccentric. She would lie with me on the Murphy bed in the living room of our apt.with a bottle of Schlitz beer,saltine crackers, and Thuringer salami. After the "Honeymooners" left the "air waves" and the test pattern would come on with the Star Spangled Banner playing in the background, my mother would recite, from memory, passages from Tennyson, Kipling, and other poems she loved. I, therefore, grew to love the sound of words. I can recite the "Gettysburg Address" by heart as many people can and wonder which passages or poems you're proud of having memorized as well.
The National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegience. I think every American should memorize these, especially the national anthem, because it demonstrates our spirit for living and succeeding as THE United States of America. It's tricky to memorize the words, though--weird sentence constructions to get the subject to work well with the musical score...
I also have parts of Hamlet memorized (just the typical ones that everybody recognizes).
And one line from one of the Shakespeare sonnets, I can't find it again after a long time of looking, talks about picking up the jewelry that a woman had just taken off and finding it still warm with her body heat. It just evokes such a poignant moment in time....
I can also sing most of the showtunes accurately, though not necessarily on key or well; things like Annie, the Sound of Music, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Wizard of Oz, and dozens more. (I memorized the words as I was learning to play the songs on the piano).
This is so much fun! So I tried to find that line from Shakespeare and can't. Let me know if you run across it; it sounds lovely. I drive my husband crazy with "Sleep, sleep, innocent sleep..." but I ADORE the metaphors in that passage! THANK YOU!
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
I learned this in the eighth grade and just never forgot it. It's strange how a person will remember something for that long, even if you haven't called it to mind in many years.
What an interesting question. The only poem I ever completely memorised was The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll - not sure why, I just enjoyed the sound of all the words and loved to say it out loud ...
Twas brilling and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe
All mimsy were the borogroves
And the mome raths outgrabe
etc ... I could go on, but don't want to bore you!
I've never been great on speeches, but it's nice to be able to remember the odd significant quote from people one admires, such as Ghandi's response to the question "What do you think of Western civilisation?" to which he replied "I think it would be a good idea"
lol... I just posted (a minute ago) that I liked the same poem: Jabberwocky.
Wasn't that a BRILLIANT piece showing the parts of speech totally without real words? The only part that sticks with me now is "All mimsy were the borogroves." VERY impressive and I LOVE the Ghandi comment - I had forgotten about that one. THANKS!
"Jabberwocky" always presented a challenge to me... with it's own brand of invented words. But I mastered it and use it now as a monologue during auditions.
Once upon a midnight dreary,
While I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded nearly napping,
Suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping.
Rapping on my chamber door . . .
I can probably recite every Mother Goose Rhyme from "Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle" to "Sing a song of sixpense, a pocket full of rye; four and twenty black birds baked in a pie..." I was given a set of 12 Book House Books when I was about 8 years old. Book number 1 was Mother Goose. I read the complete set several times.
As a love sick teenager, I learned Elizabeth Barret Browning's sonnet, "How do I love thee, let me count the ways..." and can still recite most of the sonnet. I'm a big fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein, so I've leaned all the words to many Broadway musical tunes. (No, you don't want to hear me sing them!)
Now I do feel a little badly that I haven't learned any great speeches, excerpts from Shakespeare or classic poetry, but these are some my favorite things!
Cute! I heard along the way somewhere that nursery rhymes had several functions, one of which was to spread political ideas that wouldn't be acceted otherwise. I think that would be a fantastic hub. I have MLK's Dream fill in blank on my website.
A poem “ Trees” by Joyce Kilmer--- I learned this in Girl Scout Camp.
I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
I had to memorize the entire balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet, and I happen to have memorized the end of a Robert Heinlein poem (written as the protagonist of the Green Hills of Earth):
We pray for one last landing,
On the globe that gave us birth,
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies,
And the cool, green hills of Earth
The pledge of allegiance Is my favorite because it shows pride in our country and the belief in our Father above.
Stuff revolving around the united states, as well as a quote I heard a longtime ago, from a Knights Tale when the father tells his son, "You can change the stars" I live by that quote because, whenever the end of the tunnel seems dark, I find inspiration from that quote.
a counselor comforted me very much one time with the phrase "you're walking through a tunnel right now." It gave me hope that I'd walk out and I did! At first I didn't notice I was out and then one evening I thought, "I didn't cry once today!"
oh cool, well im glad you found that strength to break free. now you'll make wonders.
These are some of the scripture verses I have memorized, from the best book in the world: the Holy Bible.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life"
From the Holy Bible...(New King James)..John 3:16
"Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (New King James) John 14:6
If you have taught Shakespeare, you can't help but memorize lines from sonnets and plays. Macbeth's soliloquies haunt me in my sleep, Mark Antony's funeral oration plays in my mind during funerals, and the witches (can't forget the witches) show up unannounced in the kitchen.
How wonderful to have Shakespeare's words playing in your head so often - how wonderful to have TAUGHT Shakespeare. One of my favorites is "The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as a gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath." Cheers
The prologue to Canterbury Tales - it felt so good to be able to understand a passage of Middle English.
"The quality of mercy is not strained" speech that Portia makes in The Merchant of Venice. Good advice then, good advice now.
The Beatitudes - probably my favorite part of the Bible.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock - one of the most amazing poems I've ever encountered.
You picked 2 of my FAVORITES! Mercy, and the Beatitudes. Haven't read Love Song of J.A.P for 42 yrs. Glanced at it now. Know what popped into my head? L Cohen's Hallelujah verse: "Even though it all went wrong...I'll stand before the lord of song.."
I cannot go to school today, said little Mary Anne Mckay.
I have the measles and the mumps a gash a rash and purple pumps.
My knee hurts when I move my chin.
I think my belly button's caving in.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak.
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is...
What? What's that you say?
You say today is Saturday?
Goodbye. I'm going out to play!
(OK, I missed about 20 additional lines, but you get the point!)
This is SO cute. My mom would recite one with that same humor. It was about a bird who left his bird wife, "Phoebe" 'cuz she cleaned the tree too much "and soon she was finding it terribly urgent to scrub every knothole with knothole detergent."
ExE16, Thank you! I looked up that reference. If it's the right one, it's beautiful ..."the death-knell of all...persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal."
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What's something you memorized as a kid that you still know by heart?
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Does poetry always have to be in a form? Can you not just write from the heart or from experience?
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