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Brain training

(33 Posts)
NanKate Mon 20-Jan-20 09:07:34

Dementia is a worry for us all as we age.

Whether anything can be done to stop, slow it down I don’t know but I read some time back that learning a new language can strengthen parts of the brain, so I started learning Spanish online and am thoroughly enjoying my course. I only do about 10 mins a day but I am certainly managing to retain most of the new words.

My next plan is to learn one small poem a month. This was recommended by a Doctor in the newspaper last week and Gyles Brandreth advised Camilla PB that it was a good way to keep the brain healthy.

So could you recommend any short, fun, interesting, emotive poems you like for me to choose my next poem ? I have started with Coleridge’s Kubla Khan first 3 verses which I loved as a teenager.

I didn’t know whether to put this request under Health, Books or Ask a Gran and in the end I plumped for Chat.

NanKate Mon 20-Jan-20 09:08:41

No I didn’t I put it under Health. You can see I need help 😀

Eglantine21 Mon 20-Jan-20 09:17:39

Here’s one I had to learn for detention nearly sixty years ago.

It’s never faded.

Like a small grey coffee pot
sits the squirrel. He is not
all he should be, kills by dozens
trees and eats his red-brown cousins.

The keeper on the other hand
who shot him is a Christian and
loves his enemies, which shows
the squirrel is not one of those.

Daisymae Mon 20-Jan-20 09:18:39

Great idea. I have a book, A Year of Reading Aloud. 52 poems one for each week of the year to be learnt off by heart. You might want to think about that. It does contain The Eagle by Tennyson. It's nice and short and you can really get into it! Text is online!

JenniferEccles Mon 20-Jan-20 09:31:39

I have always loved one called The Green Eye of the Yellow God by J. Milton Hayes....

‘There’s a one eyed yellow idol
To the north of Kathmandu .....

It’s probably too long to memorise in its entirety but for some reason I have always loved it since school days.

It tells a story.

EllanVannin Mon 20-Jan-20 09:55:39

The Latin version of " O Come all Ye Faithful ". I can still rattle it off from my schooldays at aged 11 in 1951, so hopefully I can continue to remember.

Humbertbear Mon 20-Jan-20 09:59:58

I think Gyles Brandreth has just published a book of poems to be learnt by heart. He asked his GC to each learn one and recite it to him as their Xmas present to him.
The poem I have learnt by heart was written by Leo Marks for Violette Szabo as her code poem when she parachuted I to France. I also have it on my study wall.
The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours.

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause.

For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

I was recommended an ap which is good for the Brain. It is called Wordscapes and is based on anagrams.

MiniMoon Mon 20-Jan-20 10:04:02

I use reciting poetry as an aid to sleep, and it actually works.
Here are some of them. I have lots of poems committed to memory from when I was younger.
To Daffodils by William Wordsworth.
I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood.
Abou Ben Ahdem by Leigh Hunt.

I also know several verses of The Rime if the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Here are some of the verses I learnt.

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch's oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white

shysal Mon 20-Jan-20 10:57:42

Thank for the information on the Gyles Brandreth book, I have just ordered it. I still use my Nintendo Brain Training and word games on line, but this will make a welcome change. It will be interesting to see how long I can retain each one.

Lovemybed Mon 20-Jan-20 11:24:58

What a good idea!
I love all of Wendy Cope's work - many short and light hearted tho' not all.
The day he moved out was terrible -
That evening she went through hell.
His absence wasn't a problem
But he'd taken the corkscrew as well.

Love Emily Dickinson's work too

If I can stop one heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain,,,
is a favourite.

Leisure by W H Davies is one I've loved since primary school.

What is this life, if full of care
We have no time to stand and stare.

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes is just a great story that never fails to move me,

Lovemybed Mon 20-Jan-20 11:30:24

.Oh will investigate the Gyles Brandreth book too.

NanKate Mon 20-Jan-20 12:22:15

Thanks ALL for your brilliant suggestions, I loved the corkscrew one !!

I shall pop into my bookshop tomorrow and order GB's book.

Keep the ideas coming please.

What a helpful place GN can be.

Doodledog Mon 20-Jan-20 12:31:47

We had to memorise poems at school, and some of them have stuck. Here's one I learnt at about seven years old:

'When I was at a party', said Betty, aged just four
'a little girl fell off her chair, right down upon the floor!
And all the other little girls began to laugh, except me.
I didn't laugh a single bit' said Betty seriously.

'Why not?' her mother asked her, full of delight to find
that Betty, bless her little heart, had been so sweet and kind.
'Why didn't you laugh, my darling? Or don't you like to tell?'
'I didn't laugh, said Betty, 'for I was the one who fell.

MiniMoon Mon 20-Jan-20 14:47:36

How about some Shakespeare?

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments,
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O, no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken
'Tis the star to ev'ry wand'ring bark
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not time's fool
Tho' rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle's compass comes,
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks
But bears it out, even to the edge of doom,
If this be error, and upon me proved
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Or the Winter song from Loves Labours Lost, which begins;
When icicles hang by the wall, and Dick the shepherd blows his nail
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail.

Or Home thoughts from Abroad by Robert Browning

Or I remember, I remember the house where I was born by Thomas Hood

Or To Autumn by John Keats. (This one I confess, I have only committed the first two verses to memory).

NanKate as you may have guessed, I love poetry.

Liz46 Mon 20-Jan-20 14:58:13

I'm not too keen on poetry so I try to keep the brain ticking over by doing The Times Ultimate Killer Su Doku. My OH starts at the front with the easier ones and I start at the back with the 2hr. 40 min. ones.

Daddima Mon 20-Jan-20 16:19:57

Jennifer Eccles I love that one too! I also like ‘ Sam,Sam, pick up tha’ musket’, and ‘ The Lion and Albert’ .

I can ( or could!) recite Tam O’ Shanter from memory too, and bits of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam.

Lovemybed Tue 21-Jan-20 09:57:11

The lion and Albert is great isn't it. Just reminded me about
Matilda who told such dreadful lies.
I think the story element and simple rhyme would male them easy to remember.

JessK Tue 21-Jan-20 09:59:24

As well as Gyles Brandreth have a look at Pam Ayres. She has several books of poems out.

JenniferEccles Tue 21-Jan-20 17:06:32

Oh yes the lion and Alfred, complete with the ‘orses ‘ead’andle

And ‘im in ‘is Sunday best too!!

Wonderful stuff!

I am going to look into a lot of these suggestions.

tessagee Tue 21-Jan-20 17:24:32

While I certainly memorised and loved poetry in my school days, the only one that I remember in its entirety is The Lake Isle of Innisfree (as follows):

I will arise and go now
And go to Innisfree
And a small cabin build there
Of clay and wattle made
Nine bean rows will I have there
And a hive for the honeybee
And live alone in the bee loud glade

And I shall have some peace there
For peace comes dropping slow
Dropping from the veils of morning
To where the cricket sings
Where midnight's all a-glimmer
And noon a purple glow
And evening full of the linnets wings

I will arise and go now
For always night and day
I hear lake waters lapping gently on the shore
While standing in the roadway
Or on the pavement grey
I hear it deep in the heart's core

Hope this jogs the memory/emotions of anyone who has moved from an island childhood to live/work in the city.

NanKate Tue 21-Jan-20 19:35:10

Just got the GB book of poems. Will snuggle down with it tonight. 👍

DanniRae Wed 22-Jan-20 09:29:51

Here's a little poem I put in a Birthday card to a friend - supposedly from my little dog:

Here's a Happy Birthday wish,
and a Happy Birthday kiss,
I hope you have a day that's jolly,
Lot's and lot's of Love from Holly

And if this poem makes you merrier,
then I'm a happy Yorkshire Terrier!!
I know I am no Pam Ayres (who I love) but it amused my friend.

NanKate Wed 22-Jan-20 13:16:44

Keep ‘um coming Danni 👍

Greeneyedgirl Wed 22-Jan-20 13:42:50

Great idea NanKate. My New Year resolution was to learn a language and I'm also doing 10mins Spanish via an App although I'm not so good at remembering all the tenses.
Will try learning poems next. There's good evidence that the brain can change, whatever age, and new neural pathways are formed by learning and retaining things.
Whether it staves off dementia is another question entirely, unfortunately.

NanKate Wed 22-Jan-20 15:51:16

But it’s worth a go Green. I’m also having a daily odourless garlic tablet. I’m a sucker for any medical advice in the paper.