Have you ever found yourself reciting a poem you learnt many, years ago at school? One that you were tasked to learn by rote and recite out loud in front of the class?
Why do these words stick like Super Glue to our permanent memory cells?
When so much else fails to the memory wayside?
Is it because rote learning is a little like brainwashing?
After reading Margaret’s post today, the poem ‘Tarantella’ came to mind. I love the use of onomatopoeia in that poem, and I like that the poem is factual, apparently.
I cannot reproduce the whole of the poem below for copyright reasons, so I have redacted some lines. Which sort of spoils the effect, so I have redacted minimal amounts and cited the author, of course.
All it needs is a semi-related trigger and I’ll robotically begin to articulate those words from the poem, learnt word for word, so very long ago.
If it is a type of rote learning, then for goodness sake why do we spend hours teaching our kids complicated strategies to work out their times tables, when a few weeks of chanting would translate to a life long skill without need for any mental refreshment, ever.
Equally concerning is what other values or words might be ingrained in our memory banks at a tender age by
Luckily for me, this brainwashing is nothing more sinister than my times tables and a Hilaire Belloc poem with a bouncy repetitive rhyme. But as a gift to Miranda, that poem has a conclusion filled with doom, albeit twenty years later, (when it was written), and the memory of the inn may have faded?
The Miranda of Hilaire Belloc’s “Tarantella” is Miranda Mackintosh whom Belloc met at an inn in the Pyrenean hamlet of Canranc on the River Aragon in 1909. The poem, written twenty years later, was a New Year’s present to the Scottish Miranda. The holograph copy is inscribed: “For Miranda: New Year’s 1929.”http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/tarantella/
Tarantella by Hiliare Belloc
Do you have an poem that has become an earworm over time?
Something that sticks?
Inspired by Margaret‘s photos of the Pyrenees.