Yes - I have always loved poetry and found it easy to memorise, along with great chunks of Shakespeare. I remember every poem we learned at school, then on my English Literature degree and many more that I just enjoyed.
I used to be able to recite chunks of Shakespeare and a lot of poems, but now I can't - there's a lot of "dumdy dumdy dum" that goes on in the middle. I think I might start learning it again to make sure my feeble brain doesn't disintegrate any more quickly than it already has.
Having taught literature, and been educated at a time when you were expected to learn poetry by heart, I have quite a lot of quotations on the tip of my tongue. I can recite a lot of Tam o' Shanter and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner!
I'm afraid my grammar school education put me off poetry for a long time... being required to learn great indigestible chunks of Sohrab and Rustum as punishment... not a word of which is even familiar now, I'm happy to relate.
It's really only now that I am 'elderly' that I have rediscovered the joy of it, with Larkin, Wendy Cope, Betjeman, Auden and others...
My teacher put me off Dickens in just the same way, making me write out passages for leaving my books at home. Always have been absent-minded. When I started teaching I used Leviticus for this purpose. Probably put them off the Bible for life.
numberplease - we used to add 'but pickled pepper is pickled after it has been picked'. Smart ars*es. I used to recite poetry to my gc long before they were old enough to understand the words - they seemed to like the cadences. Not modern poetry though. 'Stopping by woods on a snowy evening' always went down well.
I can remember The 12 fruits of the Holy Ghost, The Seven Deadly Sins, The Seven Cardinal Virtues, the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost and the Ten Commandments, plus most of the catechism and much of the mass (in Latin).
I can do 'Let me not to the marriage of true minds' which I learnt because I love it not because I had to. I also do lots of dum de dumming in the ones I was supposed to learn and then think I'll sing the Arthers instead!
Most of Ode to Autumn and Ode to a Nightingale.Bits of Shakespeare.
This poem by Joyce Grenfell was read at my friend's funeral last week. Pat was an active member of a book club and had requested that one of them should read it.I couldn't have done it.
'If I should go before the rest of you Break not a flower nor inscribe stone, Nor when I'm gone speak in a Sunday voice But be the usual friends that I have known. Weep if you must, Parting is hell, But life goes on, So sing as well.
Listen to the song of Wandering Jack, He carries a bundle on his back. What is inside it, no one can tell, He carries inside it dreams to sell. Some cost a penny, Some cost a pound. Some cost nothing, I'll be bound.
I've been able to recite that poem since I was seven.