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Memorize This

Chicken

Chicken

When in school I had to memorize many things, like lyrics to songs, poems, and mathematics  tables.  Did you have to do this also, or was there something new in place?   How about all those lists of spelling words?

Memorizing was very difficult for me and I struggled to accomplish the goals set before me.  I finally accomplished the multiplication tables when I had helped the third child pass the test.  She could memorize like a whiz kid and had no problem with those Chemistry Charts and did not need my assistance at all.

I have been practicing brain exercises on my DS Player, which I find very relaxing and of course I read a great deal to keep my brain active.

I thought I would share with you the first poem I successfully memorized as it has come back to mind and I have not forgotten it after all these years.  It still makes me laugh.

A gourmet challenged me to eat
A tiny bit of rattlesnake meat
Remarking don’t look so horror stricken
You will find it tastes a lot like chicken
It Did!
Now chicken I cannot eat because it tastes
Like rattlesnake meat.
~ OGDEN NASH

Do you have an old poem tucked away in the nooks and crannies of your mind?  Are you amazed when you remember the words to old songs?   What do you do to exercise your brain’s sections and keep them all healthy?

Looking forward to your stories and comments:

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Eat to Live
After Math
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35 Responses to “Memorize This”

  1. Dot Says:

    This wasn’t something I had to memorize for school. It was something I felt intensely at one time about one person.

    When I am dead and over me bright April
    Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
    Though you should lean above me broken-hearted,
    I shall not care.

    I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful 5
    When rain bends down the bough;
    And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
    Than you are now.

    — Sara Teasdale

    Patricia Reply:

    Powerful words…Thank you for sharing Dot

  2. Talon Says:

    lol! I loved the poem, Patricia!

    Memory has always fascinated me. I’ve always had a good memory so that made school work easier.

    I like exercising the memory muscle – I don’t use speed dials on phones and things like that…

    Patricia Reply:

    I too Talon work at exercising my memory muscle because it is just so hard for me…I am best with names, which has been a blessing as I get older

    I don’t know why the Nash poem caught my eye but I did think it was remarkably funny

  3. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    It seems like these days kids are not required to memorize as much. I think it makes sense – knowing how to access information and use it is more important now, since information is so readily accessible.

    Patricia Reply:

    Hi Vered,
    Yep it makes great sense not to spend so much time memorizing and one of the great Math folks says we should teach understanding of numbers not calculations – let the computers do that…frees up the brain for more creativity.

    But memory function is an important part of how the brain works and it is an important skill for teaching folks how to think and integrate ideas. It is another thing which takes practice.

    Folks who can memorize, especially poetry do better in life and have higher feeling of the quality of life – more life satisfaction?

  4. Galen Pearl Says:

    Yes I can remember a poem I memorized when I was young. I don’t remember if it was the first poem. It was a poem about a horse (naturally–that’s all I cared about). It was long, and I don’t remember all of it now, but amazingly I can remember snippets of it.

    I loved that poem and drew illustrations for it. Nice memories! Thanks!

    Patricia Reply:

    Great story of the horse poem and making illustrations. Did you ever get a horse?

    Galen Pearl Reply:

    Yes I did. I pretty much grew up in a barn. My mom would drop me off in the morning with my little sack lunch (peanutbutter and jelly sandwich) and pick me up at dusk. That was the best part of my childhood.

    Patricia Reply:

    awesome – every better comment to the story

  5. Galen Pearl Says:

    PS–I can’t believe this. I went online with the snippets I could remember and found the poem. Marvels of the internet. I’m so happy to have this. (And I can’t believe I memorized it. It’s full of words I still can’t pronounce!)

    Patricia Reply:

    Oh how neat – yep the Internet can be a true thrill when trying to find something :)

  6. Davina Haisell Says:

    Patricia,

    I have fond memories of having to memorize poems in school. One of my all-time favourites… still… is Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening”.

    It conjures up so many feelings of comfort and that’s odd because the character in the poem is travelling in an open sleigh in the middle of winter… alone.

    “My little horse must think it queer,
    To stop without a farmhouse near.
    He gives his harness bells a shake,
    To ask if there is some mistake.”

    I think that’s right… my favourite verse from that poem.

    Patricia Reply:

    Davina
    Oh a lovely poem that I had to memorize also. It is an important brain enhancing skill – that gets forgotten.

    My mother had to memorize about 50 basic recipes too when she was in school – so when she was out and about she could still cook up a pound cake or casserole.

    I will not look up the poem to see if you are correct…it is a lovely memory

    Davina Haisell Reply:

    I’m reading this again and realized I’ve made an error. I promise I didn’t cheat and look this up :)

    It should read:

    My little horse must think it queer,
    to stop without a farmhouse near.
    Between the woods and frozen lake,
    the darkest evening of the year.

    This is better!

    Patricia Reply:

    Good for you – a kind of practice drill

  7. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! Hysterical that you picked a poem by Ogden Nash. In my high school speech class we had to give 5 min. on a poet we DID NOT like and tell why – since I was all Sylvia Plath at the time, I picked Ogden, who, as luck would have, was my teachers favorite! I do remember memorizing a LOT in grade school – I don’t think they do that anymore, at least not as much. I remember we had to know the worlds capitals and now kids don’t even know half of the countries, let alone cities. And does anyone remember how to diagram a sentence? I loved that!
    hugs
    suZen

    Patricia Reply:

    Suzen,
    I just assisted a 10 year old this morning with predicate nominative voice in her writing and taught the lesson by using diagramming – the private school still are teaching this but not the public schools.

    I picked Ogden Nash because he was on the list and all of his poems were short so I could put more work into the delivery than the memorizing.

    I loved grammar and diagramming too

  8. Mandy Allen Says:

    Yes, I do, Patricia.
    Old Meg she was a Gypsy,
    And lived upon the Moors:
    Her bed it was the brown heath turf,
    And her house was out of doors.

    Her apples were swart blackberries,
    Her currants pods o’ broom;
    Her wine was dew of the wild white rose,
    Her book a churchyard tomb.

    Her Brothers were the craggy hills,
    Her Sisters larchen trees –
    Alone with her great family
    She lived as she did please.

    No breakfast had she many a morn,
    No dinner many a noon,
    And ‘stead of supper she would stare
    Full hard against the Moon.

    But every morn of woodbine fresh
    She made her garlanding,
    And every night the dark glen Yew
    She wove, and she would sing.

    And with her fingers, old and brown,
    She plaited Mats o’ Rushes,
    And gave them to the Cottagers
    She met among the Bushes.

    Old Meg was brave as Margaret Queen,
    And tall as Amazon:
    An old red blanket cloak she wore;
    A chip-hat had she on.
    God rest her aged bones somewhere –
    She died full long agone!

    I always loved this poem. Can’t believe I still know it, but I think we do remember chilchood ryhmes and verses very well for some reason.

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy

    Patricia Reply:

    Mandy this was awesome and one that I did not read or learn myself — Thank you so much

  9. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. love your poem and every one else’s selections – amazing. I was always hopeless at remembering things and terrified of being asked to ‘regurgitate’ one!!

    Yet – now I remember a few – so something must have sunk in .. and Vered’s comment about the kids not being taught to remember is probably not a good thing – because if you have no reference point – how will you know where to look?!

    As I, and your commenters here have – we’ve taken our snippets off (because we remember them) .. and checked out the net to find our poems or articles (nearly) long forgotten ..

    So Keats – Ode to a Nightingale, & To Autumn, Masefield .. lonely sea and sky … and we used to have the Edward Lear verses around all the time (particularly The Owl and the Pussycat) .. many many I guess .. just been thinking of some Childrens’ rhymes .. (not having children I missed that repeat learning session) .. Sing a Song of Sixpence …

    Don’t ask me to memorise things though!! Please – thank you!! Cheers .. Hilary

  10. Patricia Says:

    Hilary,
    I think this has been a rather fun post and ideas sharing. No I will not ask you to memorize! thank you for coming by and adding to the conversation

  11. Sara Says:

    Patricia,

    When I was a kid, I could memorize things, but they often would not stick with me. I have to study the night before a test or else. I later found out that I think more in concepts than in facts or numbers, meaning things have to connected to each other in some way for my brain to retain them.

    It’s a poem, but rather a quote that I always retain. Who knows why…maybe I need it. It’s the Serenity Prayer:

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And the wisdom to know the difference.

    Did you see that Meredith, The Enchanted Garden, linked to your post about walking the dogs in the rain? It was a nice link and well deserved:~)

  12. Patricia Says:

    Sara,
    I think this poem stuck with me because it was silly? I can usually remember songs too if I sang them enough times :)

    And I was part of the generation that memorized lots of prayers at church as a child…though so many I can not remember now.

    My comment luv is not working nor am I getting ping backs…Thank you for the heads up about Meredith’s post. I will head over now

    Thank you for your kind words

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  14. Jannie Funster Says:

    Let me see.. the nooks and crannies of my mind.

    And family rated, right?

    Umm, let’s see…

    Funny, but sometimes I’ll hear a song I’ve not thought about in say, 20 years and all the lyrics will spill out of me, right on cue. Cool, eh? That happen to you too?

    Okay, a poem from my days of yore…

    Magalena, Hagalena

    Nah, not sure on the spelling of the next part.

    So… how ’bout some Super Tramp…

    History reveals how great the fall can be
    while everybody’s sleeping the boats put out to sea…

    I forget the rest, please forgive me. But if it came on the radio I could magically sing right along and not miss a word.

    off to bed now.

    xoxo

    Patricia Reply:

    Jannie,
    I know just what you mean – although I am finding some of the words are missing….I was just reading about Carole King and some of her hit songs and wow I just could not get all the way through Natural Woman…need to look it up, it was such a good theme song of days gone by

  15. Meredith Says:

    Patricia, what an apt post! I may borrow that delightful poem for the third-grader I’m tutoring. She still struggles with language and reading mastery and I’m trying to instill somehow the notion that books are wonderful and fun and fascinating and worth her time — even though her parents are both functionally illiterate and she’s never seen this behavior modeled before. We memorize a lot of things in third grade; I’d frankly forgotten how much before taking on this task. Right now we are working on her times tables, and I realize how much faster her young brain can grab onto these details and lock them away forever.

    My own brain has become a sieve compared to its earlier state. Learning a language now (my husband’s mother tongue) is taking me about twice the effort and three times as long as learning languages did when I was in high school and college.

  16. Patricia Says:

    Meredith,
    Yep the brain needs exercise in thinking also – people for get that or did not know that.

    What we don’t use tends to leave us and TV is so easy and movies…

    Isn’t tutoring fun. I gave up all my volunteer work this year, but I am missing the fun time with the children. I think I will go back to it.

    Good luck on your new language

  17. Chris Edgar Says:

    Hi Patricia — I don’t think I ever memorized poems for school or any other purpose, but I certainly have an uncanny knack for memorizing pop song lyrics — even when I don’t want to! In fact, especially when I don’t want to! My mind can be mischievous that way.

    Patricia Reply:

    Chris,
    My husband can memorize lyrics and music like crazy too! He and my children can remember songs and titles and I am still out in left field wondering if I even heard that song?

  18. GeekGirlSF Says:

    Hi All,

    Thanks to everyone who let me know things were broken… CommentLuv should now be fixed though it may take a little while for it to come back up.

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you IT Girl….looks like it is running and on time tonight :)

  19. Hilary Says:

    Hi GeekGirlSF .. not a problem .. and glad you’ve fixed it – it appears fixed, though too early to ‘register’ as such .. at least it’s not saying .. it the out of date version. Have a great end of the week .. cheers Hilary

    Patricia Reply:

    I think I see it up and running now…Cheers to you too