Unforgotten Words

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I am a Dewy Blossom in the Garden of Life. Regardless of my age I refuse to admit that I’m, ahem, older. Yes, time is marching past, but it does so without my cooperation. I have given up in some respects. Gravity will pull my skin down. Body parts will settle where I never intended them to settle.  Yet my spirit is indomitable. I will be a Dewy Blossom in the Garden of Life until the day I stick my spoon in the wall. (Isn’t that a great expression?  It means to kick the bucket, which is another great expression.)

All that said, I will admit to being of an age when my education meant having to learn multiplication tables, all sorts of dates, recite large sections of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Shakespeare. We weren’t allowed to use calculators when they did get produced small enough to afford one or be able to carry it.

The other day I happened to run across a poem, Invictus, that I was forced to memorize. I think, if you added them all up, I had to memorize about fifty pieces of literature or poetry during my elementary or high school years. I can still recite Mark Anthony’s speech from Julius Cesar and the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. I have other bits of poetry floating around in my brain.

How about you? I’ll bet you remember this, too:

Invictus, by William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 



10 thoughts on “Unforgotten Words”

  1. I agree on getting older thing. I’m 56 and it’s all going south, but I refuse to give up. I’m still pretty vain even though I know in the end it’s a losing battle. I get my hair colored and trimmed every 4 weeks. Every two months I add highlights. I get pedicures and occasionally do gel or shellac fingernails. And of course I wouldn’t be caught dead going to work without my face on. I know that Mike really loves me because he tells me I’m beautiful even without it, even if it’s not true.

    So much memorization in school. Believe it or not in my elementary school from 1st grade to 6th grade there was a lot of churchey stuff involved in school. I’m not sure if it was like that everywhere but maybe because it was Alabama it was like that.

    I think I memorized most of my Bible quotes from grade school. Most of it was Psalms, especially The Lord Is My Shepherd which I remember by heart to this day. Everything else we had to memorize such as the Preamble I don’t remember. The last thing that I had to memorize or actually quote was from when I joined the Navy when we took the oath.

  2. Yes, we memorized so much. Only remember the first part of Mark Antony’s speech…Most of THE HIGHWAYMAN (adore that poem) & THE EARL KING, another favorite. All the other has gone by the wayside with old addresses, phone numbers, etc… Bits & pieces stick with me rather than the whole on most things like that…

  3. I’ll I can say it’s a good thing I didn’t have to memorize anything regarding literature. I never would have graduated! My Spanish teacher told me to find another class as I couldn’t memorize the vocabulary or grammar rules, I took me FOREVER to memorize my addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables to 11!!! I decided to force my memorizing lack of skills in college and took a Sunday School Bible Study class to memorize the book of Philippians. I did it with LOTS OF HOURS of labor and long city buss trips to and from school. But I promptly forgot it after I finished the class. I recognize the passages are from Philippians but not where, sigh. I’ve learned the adage “use it or lose it” is the truth for me!

  4. I still remember several lines of the SONG OF HIAWATHA. I was entranced as a child with Minnesota, we went there on vacation every year to fish. It was a time when my parents were relaxed and we just enjoyed our time together.

    When we had to learn the poem in grammar school, I fell in love with the poem. It represented the lake we visited every year.

  5. I remember having to memorize parts of Evangeline by Longfellow and The Gettysburg Address. There were more but I’d have to hear them to realize I had them memorized. I do not know Invictus other than the last few lines. I never heard of the term to stick your spoon in the wall!!!

  6. The Highwayman, a wonderful story. That was the favorite poem I had to memorize. It can still make me cry. I do remember lots of snippets of poetry and parts of historical documents and Shakespeare, and Chaucer and stuff.

    And yup, multiplication tables.

    Of course for me, everything was carved into stone tablets, so of course it took so long to do all that chipping along, you naturally learned things.

  7. “Water, water everywhere” the only lines i remember from the Ancient Mariner. Did not enjoy that poem cause it was depressing.


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