The Best Poems of the English Language

Written by   (author of Obvious Conclusions)

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The Best Poems of the English Language

I always have a book of poetry by my bed.  Ok, yes, that me seem a completely prop, a ruse. 

But, I swear, it’s not.

In college, my teacher challenged me to memorize 10 poems of substantial length.  If I did, I would get no lower than a B.  Perfect, I thought, I will do this and nothing else.  I’m comfortable with a B.  I’m an English major after all, who cares what my grade point will be when I graduate? 

I memorized the 10 poems and it was not easy, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.  I gained a much greater understanding of each poem and poetry in general. 

Poems comment on the poetry of life (Ayn Rand might not like them-they’re so unreasonable).  Love, Celebration, Jealousy, Depression-poetry is filled with all types of emotion. 

In later years, this contributed greatly to my thoughts on Active Learning, which I write about in my post Learning Spanish-Spanish Verbs.  Until you can say something out loud (without reference to a book), you don’t know it.  As a trainer for many years, I employed this concept.

Knowing poetry may also assist you in other life endeavors.  If you throw out a poem, it arouses curiosity.  Where did that come from? 

Several years back, I had a “visitor’ in my apartment.  As many girls do, she was analyzing me by the contents in my bedroom.  She saw the poetry book and immediately said:

“Oh my God, what a prop!”

“No, no, I said, I really enjoy poetry”

“Really? Name one poem in this book.”

“Not only can I do that, I can recite a poem from that book.”

“Really, which one?”

“Pick one.”

“Nuh-huh!”

I was taking a gamble by saying Pick One, knowing that I could only recite about 20% of the poems.  But I’m a gambler by nature and she was already at my place.

“This one,” she said.

I began, ” Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old time is still a-flying…”

We had a great night and an even better morning :)

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Richard Cummings

Richard Cummings is writer, traveler, and web content developer.

Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
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Richard CummingsThe Best Poems of the English Language

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