Poetry You Know By Heart

Yesterday morning I was catching up with the news on the Guardian app – as you do – when I read Alison Flood’s article discussing poetry you know by heart.

It got me thinking: I post a poem every Wednesday, but which of them could I recite. My lyrical memory is atrocious. When it comes to remembering lines or quotes I am never able to recite without significant practice. However, there are the odd lines that come to me in passing, and on this occasion – as as I continued to ponder the aforementioned topic – my favourites came to mind.

For example:

“And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more”

When I have fears that I may cease to be by John Keats
My favourite poem, it’s stunning. You picture Keats writing it, you picture the poem’s subject living it, and you picture the fair creature of an hour observing it.

“But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep”

– Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
This simple poem was not written about anything more significant that a snowy evening. Yet, I cannot read this poem without picturing the rider’s journey on a larger scale. Stick to the path, or wander into the beautiful forest?

What lines from poetry do you remember? Can you recite a whole poem?

3 thoughts on “Poetry You Know By Heart

  1. I can probably recite at least one or two from memory. I know that Robert Frost poem “Neither Out Far Nor in Deep” because I really love it. And there’s an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem about the boy who cried wolf that I know 80% of, and I could probably say the whole of Catullus’s poem about going to see his brother’s grave.


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