driving snow moutains switzerland

Do you Remember an Inn?

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?

On the way to Cromwell.....the Lindis pass

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.

Where am I

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.

School years where chanting and rote learning was commonplace

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 chanting brainwashing?

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.”


Tarantella by Hiliare Belloc

Do you remember an Inn, Miranda?

Do you remember an Inn?

And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark veranda)?
****************** ?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Who hadn’t got a penny,
And who weren’t paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the din?
And the hip! hop! hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the swirl and the twirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of the clapper to the spin
Out and in–
And the ting, tong, tang of the guitar!
Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?

Never more;
Never more.
Only the ****************;
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound
In the walls of the halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground,
No sound:

Of the far waterfall like doom.

The ting, tong, tang of the guitar

Do you have an poem that has become an earworm over time?

Something that sticks?

Inspired by Margaret‘s photos of the Pyrenees.