Today, in the UK, it is National Poetry Day. This year’s theme is "Remember", so if you remember a poem, however short, you are encouraged to pass it on with hashtag #thinkofapoem.
I caught the end of an article on the radio this morning where someone was extolling the virtues of memorising poetry - in terms of improving memory skills and helping those with dementia. Listeners of the show were encouraged to get involved and post some lines of of poetry they are able to recite from memory.
Apparently, once you have commited something to memory, a poem for example, it is likely that you will remember it for years - even when the rest of your faculties have diminished. There is something to be said for rote learning, but it has been out of faviour in the education system for 40 odd years now, because it is said that it doesn't promote critical learning and true understanding. Supporters of rote learning would claim, however, if you know something off by heart, you are able to devote more mental resources to the critical thinking.
I don't know, but I did feel slightly ashamed that I am not able to recite a single poem. I can, however, cite a couple of lines from Pushkin's poem Autumn - in Russian as well.
Here is the lines from the poem which I have transliterated and translated.
lyeko i radostno igrayet v sertstye krov
- lightly and joyfully the blood in my heart plays
zhelaniya keepyat - ya snova schastliv, molod,
- desire seethes, I am again happy, youthful
ya snova zhizni poln - takov ma-ee arganeezm
- I am again full of life - such is my nature (organism)
I'm no translator, so I apologise if I have got that wrong. This is just a few lines from a long peom by Pushkin which is an ode to the autumn season.