Recently, I’ve been turning over in my mind poems learned by heart, and searching the memory banks of some once committed to memory and now only half recalled. Time to get back into a rhythm of learning by heart, including many new poems and the trickier business of learning quotations, which don’t have metre or other props which some poems have to help remember their lines. 

In revisiting this life skill, I came across a comment by Molly Peacock and I liked the idea of remembered lines being the same as remembered thoughts, and as comforting as a house still standing.  This seems painfully apposite as our news screens are currently filled with images of buildings damaged or destroyed by fire or flood.

Memorizing lines engages a person with the rhythms of another mind and allows the thought of another, perfectly preserved, to act as a comfort to be turned to in emergencies, like a house that remains standing.

What lines would comfort you as a house still standing?


Source: Molly Peacock, The Paper Garden: Mrs Delany Begins her Life’s Work at 72 (London: Bloomsbury, 2012 (2010)), p. 52  

Photo credit: ELG21 at pixabay


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