Poems I had to learn in grade school…………

I had what used to be known as a “classical” education.  Strong on language, art, ethics, civics, sciences and mathematics…short on gym (or PE) classes,  computer stuff (there was no such thing), and technology.
My grand daughter has all of her class work to complete via the web, two separate computer classes (hardware and software), two physical education classes, English, math, and technology…which seems to be an audio/visual sort of thing with a web cam.
In grade school..Mr. Pennewell’s class so that was the fifth grade, we had to memorize 25 poems. Walt Whitman, Shakespeare, ee cummings, John Donne,  Richard Wright and Merrill Lefler to name a few that I still recall.
My grand daughter came over this morning before school (yes, they are back already) to show me a poem she had to memorize and asked me what I thought it meant. It’s the only one she has to know for the entire class.
I hadn’t a clue.
let me show you what I mean……….
Walt Whitman:
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
(this goes on for two more stanzas..or whatever they are called in poetry instead of music)
ee cummings:
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
(I liked his poetry as he ignored all the “rules” of punctuation and got away with it.)
What my grand daughter had to memorize for a class in high school……..
Ishion Hutchinson:
I can bring a halo
into the night cave, quiet
with music (do not ask the music),
to her shaded there
in the moon; her fine spectacles
steam their pond rings;
her animal eyes fix
on the lintel of the door
as the wax owl glances back at me. I am her little cotton
tree the breeze combs
white into a final note,
her diminuendo poco a poco …
Moon-afro, myself
outpaces me
in wonder of her.
She goes off and I seep
under the black sprout
of her house, to rise
a salmon bell on the hill
dissolving mild cloud fractals,
without grief or malice.
Now, I hate to ask…but, what in tarnation does THAT mean?

7 thoughts on “Poems I had to learn in grade school…………

  1. I like the captain but the last one, no.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Suze, I’ve always had a mental block about poetry. C’mon just talk plain English. I was educated in the Liberal Arts Curriculum. Heavy on languages, English comp and literature, very basic in sciences.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. 🤷🏼‍♀️ beats me!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In my opinion it means a poet had a night out with good friends and doodled a poem. But I don’t think you can tell that your granddaughter. She wouldn’t get good grades for this interpretation 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think it’s not an era when things have real meaning so much, or maybe I am just overwhelmed by the sheer volume of that which does not. The poem is pleasant-ish to me, but I am unsure why someone would have a class memorise it. *shrug* We had to learn the prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Takes, and I still know the first bunch but can’t spell it properly probably! Best guess, and genuinely not well-spelled is: Wenn that Aprill with his sure shoots the draughte of March hath perced to the roote and bathed every vein is swiche liquore in which engdenered is the flore–

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved the canterbury tales…..thanks for reawakening the memory!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Night creatures? Night shadows fading at dawn? … too many Margaritas on Sunday night? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close