Kennedy, Caroline. Poems to Learn By Heart. Disney: New York, 2013. ISBN 9781423108054.
This is a diverse collection of poetry chosen that can speak to us all. They cover a range of human experience and imagination. They are every day occurrences and deep emotion. This book is divided into sections: poems about the self, poems about family, poems about friendship and love, poems about fairies, ogres, and witches, nonsensical poems, poems about school, poems about sports and games, poems about war, poems about nature, and extra credit. These sections all contain wonderfully written poems that will open your eyes to new things and deepen your appreciation for poetry.
I don’t know that I could memorize any one of these poems. While they are wonderful, they are long. Very long. Okay, not all of them are long. And learning a poem by heart doesn’t necessarily mean memorize. Learning something by heart goes deeper than being able to spout it off. It means to analyze it. To understand its meaning. To know the poem and be able to apply it into your life. To learn by heart is to truly and deeply understand: an understanding that reaches your heart.
These are definitely poems to learn by heart. This mix of poetry is lasting and impressing. Each poem is different. They don’t all follow the same patterns, but they all leave you with an impression.
Will There Really be a Morning by Emily Dickinson (Excerpt)
“Will there really be a “Morning”?
Is there such a thing as “Day”?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?
Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?”
I chose this poem because Dickinson is easily one of my most favorite poets. I’m so drawn to her tone and her wording. This poem is especially touching. When you’re told about something, and you don’t really believe it yourself, you question it. My favorite line is “Could I see it from the mountains/If I were as tall as they?” This line bring to question whether we, in our limited abilities and limited existence have the same opportunities for the future as those who are taller, more opportune. An optimist would reply yes. But I, like Dickinson, am left with no answer. This is also a wonderful example of rhyming poetry. In this poem, the second and fourth lines in each stanza rhyme (abxb rhyme scheme).