I was in the car with my mom this past weekend and I mentioned that April was National Poetry Month. In response she began recounting snippets from poems that she’d learned in her youth. My mom has a great memory. I just love listening to her lilting, accented voice. When N and I were young my mom had us memorize poems from the “Treasury of Golden Memories” poetry book. Most of the time I sat down grudgingly, though I dare say at the end of the hour, or however long it took me to memorize the work, I felt oddly accomplished, and deep, deep down I may have realized that poetry was beautiful and enriched my life. It wasn’t a conscious thought at the time; more a hint of realization that has grown more and more concrete as I’ve matured.
Just the other day a friend emailed to tell me that he heard someone speak of a ‘vorpal blade’ and so he thought of me. I don’t recall the time we spoke of it, but I’d obviously mentioned Lewis Carroll’s “The Jabberwocky.” The same friend had once unknowingly quoted “If” by Rudyard Kipling during a department meeting. Astounded that he quoted one of my favorite poems without knowing the original source, I later emailed a copy to everyone who was present at the meeting. And last November when I was walking in the back yard with our landscaper he suggested that we could plant daffodil bulbs in our newly cleared woods. I mentioned the poem by William Wordsworth and when he challenged me to recite it I did so, on the spot. He gave me a quizzical look but I think he was pretty impressed, given that when Spring rolled around he held a contest at his nursery where anyone who came in to recite “The Daffodils” walked away with a free tree or shrub to plant in their garden.
My life is more vivid, filled with amusement, and clearly enriched with poetry in it. Of course poetry doesn’t have to be so highbrow to be enjoyed. I am partial to limericks, be they clever or crude. The good Dr. Suess and his silly rhymes were a particular favorite when I was a child. And so, to celebrate, I’d like to share my favorite poem about food with you. It is by the charmingly whimsical and immensely funny Shel Silverstein.
I Must Remember
I must remember…
Turkey on Thanksgiving,
Pudding on Christmas,
Eggs on Easter,
Chicken on Sunday,
Fish on Friday,
But ah, me—I’m such a dunce.
I went and ate them all at once.
Happy National Poetry Month everyone! I would be delighted to hear your favorite poems in the comments section, even if they have nothing to do with food. And should you ever ask me, I would be happy to recite “The Daffodils” for you.