National Poetry Month: Memorizing a Poem

April 18, 2012

This year's National Poetry Month's poster

I sometimes regret that I haven’t memorized more poems.  I used to know “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by heart, but I no longer remember them.  Memorizing a poem is one of the “30 Ways to Celebrate” National Poetry Month, and I think I will set my mind to that task today.  The Academy of American Poets provides some useful tips here.

Memorizing “The Sun Rising” by John Donne
by Billy Collins, from Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems

Every reader loves the way he tells off
the sun, shouting busy old fool
into the English skies even though they
were likely cloudy on that seventeenth-century morning.

And it’s a pleasure to spend this sunny day
pacing the carpet and repeating the words,
feeling the syllables lock into rows
until I can stand and declare
the book held closed by my side,
that hours, days, and months are but the rags of time.

But after a few steps into stanza number two,
wherein the sun is blinded by his mistress’s eyes,
I can feel the first one begin to fade
like sky-written letters on a windy day.

2 Responses to “National Poetry Month: Memorizing a Poem”


  1. […] National Poetry Month: Memorizing a Poem, April 18, 2012 […]


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