Flashback Friday: Poetry

Mocha With Linda hosts a weekly meme called Flashback Friday. She’ll post a question every Thursday, and then Friday we can link our answers up on her site. You can visit her site for more Flashbacks.

In honor of National Poetry Month, the prompt for today is:

What poems do you remember from your childhood? Did you have to memorize many poems for school when you were growing up? Did you learn any just for fun? Do you remember which ones they were–and can you still recite them? Did you have a poetry book that you liked to read? Do you enjoy poetry today? Do you prefer rhyming poetry or free verse? Whimsical poetry or epic poems that tell a story? Do you have a favorite poem or poet? Have you ever written any poems?

I must have been exposed to nursery rhymes early on, but my first conscience memory of poetry is from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson in first grade. Loved that book! My next memory concerning poetry involved making a poetry book a few years later. We were supposed to look up various poems, copy down our favorites, and illustrate them. I wish I still had that book! The only lines I remember from it are from one poem which said, “But I think mice/Are rather nice.” I do not think so now!!

I know I probably read more poetry in English classes through the years, but my next memory is of angst-filled poetry I both read and wrote as a teenager. I’ve written only a few in recent years, two silly and one serious: Ode to Hay Fever, Ode to a Summer Cold, and A Mother’s Nightly Ritual.

I do enjoy poetry today. Good poetry, anyway. When carefully chosen words really encapsulate a particular thought or feeling or truth in poetry, it just really hits home like nothing else.

In general I like rhyming poetry better than free verse — there is just something about the rhythm and disciple of rhyme that is beautiful. Free verse looks like it would be easier, but just stringing words down a page does not constitute a free verse poem, so in a way I think it might be harder to create something truly poetic as a free verse. But it can be done.

I like the idea of epic poems that tell an over-arching story — The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, etc. — but I think today’s readers would find it hard to sustain the thread of the story through that many verses. I enjoy “light verse” like Richard Armour‘s as well as devotional poetry like Amy Carmichael‘s.

I don’t know if I have a favorite poet, but the closest would probably be Robert Frost. Though his poems are mostly pretty short, he packs a lot of meaning in a few words that are accessible to most people today.

Some of my favorite poems of all time are:

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
To A Waterfowl by William Cullen Bryant
To a Mouse by Robert Burns
To a Louse by Robert Burns
A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns
The Cotter’s Saturday Night by Robert Burns
The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
Annabelle Lee by Edgar Allen Poe
To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet.
September by John Updike
Am I a Stone and Not a Sheep? by Christina Rosetti
The Blue Bowl by Blanche Bane Kuder
The Blue Robe by Wendell Berry
October’s Party by George Cooper
I Am Not Skilled to Understand by Dorothy Greenwell

Do you have a favorite poem?

7 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Poetry

  1. I’d like to plug a friend’s poetry website. I met Sarah Jinright online, and her poetry is among the best “out there” IMO. Her site is http://midnightcondensations.blogspot.com/ and she has just put out the first printing of her poetry in the last few weeks. More on that here: http://www.thebronzebookmark.com/

    Here is a portion of one of her “lighter” ones, which I have as a reminder on my fridge:

    But Jesus loves a disarray
    If that is how he plans a day
    He doesn’t see a bed unmade
    But only how He’s been obeyed.

  2. I teach many of these, and yes, they have great meaning. Robert Burns and Anne Bradstreet are especially good. I also have enjoyed reading more of EBBrowning’s sonnets.

  3. “When carefully chosen words really encapsulate a particular thought or feeling or truth in poetry, it just really hits home like nothing else.” – Yes! well said!

    You mentioned The Village Blacksmith in your comment on my post – I can’t believe I had forgotten that one! “Under the spreading chestnut tree the village smithy stands” – loved it but that’s all I can remember now! LOL

    My mom loved Child’s Garden of Verses but she kinda burned me out on it.

    Fun memories!

  4. I just clicked on “Not Skilled to Understand” because it rang a faint bell. Somewhere in my past I met this poem. I know it, but I have no recollection of reading or learning it!

  5. Pingback: National Poetry Month | Stray Thoughts

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