committing to memory

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i am doing the obstacle course for my brain = learning to memorise.

this was always a challenge from school days = i couldnt, couldnt couldnt mug.

i would be able to understand a concept and then write in my own words. and i discovered, in hindsight this is far slower and less thorough than cramming… it didnt work in many subjects, and i was always many many miles behind the toppers.

now that i am safely out of school, i wanted to see if i fare better at committing to memory.

i’ve chosen poetry… i have a certain reverent openness to poetry.

or rather i am not close-minded, bull-dog faced, and hands defensively crossed across my chest, as is the case with subtraction or chemistry. ugh.

and the last three days i’ve stolen half an hours here and there to help me memorise William Blake’s poem…

today i froze in the signal while driving, trying to think what came after “smiles at all…”

but the progress is 2/10. and it’s such a simple poem to read.

i am only 3 stanzas up and v. shakily too… i tried to see if repeating it nearly hundreds of times, would lose the lyricalness of the poem and make me dislike it for re-re-reading. it didnt.

but the progress is slow… do you think there is a class i should take?
is there an easier way to memorise?
is there an easier way to memorise poetry?
or rather is there an easier way to memorise poetry, now that you are 35 years old?

On Another’s Sorrow

Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird’s grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear –

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant’s tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

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6 responses »

  1. haha, MiM, if I were you I’d start with a 2-stanza poem – do you like Robert Frost? Try “The Pasture” :

    I’M going out to clean the pasture spring;
    I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
    (And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
    I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

    I’m going out to fetch the little calf
    That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young,
    It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
    I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

    • it’s lovely.
      thank you — i’ll try and charge my brains my switching to Frost.

      my firstborn is grinning watching me struggle… at rote

    • hey! that song is almost as complicated as the periodic table itself…

      but I loved this joke in the comments

      “Do I know any good Sodium jokes?

      Na. ”

      and I am glad I wasn’t eating sundal when I read that chemistry is poetry — I would have choked myself crazy…

      chox, you are totally unbelievable

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