When I was in the 4th grade I had a teacher who assigned all her students to do something which seems quaint and old fashioned. Each month she gave us a poem to memorize and then required every student to stand, one by one, in front of the class and formally recite the poem. We had to first say the title of the poem, then the name of the poet, and then recite clearly, in even measure, the words of the poem.
We memorized Sea Fever by John Masefield; Oh Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman; Eldorado by Edgar Allen Poe; Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost; You are Old Father William by Lewis Carroll; Adventures of Isabel by Ogden Nash; and Stars by Sara Teasdale. Even now, I remember the first stanza of each poem, and can still recite, from start to finish, three or four of the poems we were required to memorize.
Of all the poetry we memorized, Stars was my favorite. Over the years, I have occasionally run across other poems by Sara Teasdale, but, until recently, had never thought to read more of her work. About a month ago I acquired a small volume of poetry called Stars To-Night. In this book I found such lovely poems. Below is one of my favorites.
On the Sussex Downs
By Sara Teasdale
Over the downs there were birds flying,
Far off the glittered sea,
And toward the north the weald of Sussex
Lay like a kingdom under me.
I was happier than the larks
That nest on the downs and sing to the sky,
Over the downs the birds flying
Were not so happy as I.
It was not you, though you were near,
Though you were good to hear and see,
It was not earth, it was not heaven
It was myself that sang in me.
Do you have any favorite poems or poets?