Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Learn by heart and say it back to me...

..doesn't seem to be popular here in North America. Nor is that quaint "explain with reference to context" that goes "explain who said this to whom and why".

Poetry seems to have taken a back seat in my son's classes - he rarely has any of those.

So for today I leave you with these classic "byhearted" gems:

Poem 1

Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form

Poem 2
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Poem 3
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

Poem 4
Rise, brothers, rise; the wakening skies pray to the morning light,
The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night.
Come, let us gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free,
To capture the leaping wealth of the tide, for we are the kings of the sea!

Poem 5

THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

Not a poem but one of the bard's finest:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar

...and finally not a very popular one- actually quite a creepy one - but I love the cadence;

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'


  1. Nice selection! Poem 4 I didnt recognise - an Indian poet, perhaps? My favourite, from school, but not sure which year.

    There was a naughty boy
    and a naughty boy was he
    He ran away to Scotland
    The people for to see -
    There he found
    That the ground
    Was as hard,
    That the yard
    Was as long,
    That a song
    Was as merry,
    That a cherry
    Was as red,
    That lead
    Was as weighty,
    That fourscore
    Was as eighty,
    That a door
    Was as wooden,
    As in England.
    So he stood in his shoes
    And he wondered.
    He stood in his shoes
    And he wondered.

    Can you believe that John Keats wrote it? :)

  2. That one is a treasure. No can't believe its Keats. My favourite Keats is "Ode to Autumn"

    Poem 4 is Coromandel Fishers - by Sarojini Naidu

  3. I should have known Coromandel Fishers - I'm SURE we did it in the first year of college... unless I'm thinking of something by Aurobindo Ghosh. Poetry isn't my strongpoint. :) Keats IS my favourite poet, though - not the least for the lovely little poem above.

  4. I can never forget these:

    Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
    The dark unfathomed caves of the ocean bear;
    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

    From Thomas Gray's Elegy.

  5. Hi A4ISMS - that one is beautiful too.