We did a lot of memorizing poetry when our five children were small. There was no sweeter sound than innocent lips reciting poems, Bible verses, and written hymns. Those bright eyes, and eager expressions delighted grandparents and visitors alike, as well as mom and dad, who silently hoped that those words would be remembered for a lifetime.
We had many favorite poets such as Christina G. Rosetti, Louise Oglevee, Edna Mae Burnham, Christopher Morely, Cecil Frances Alexander and various hymn writers and books of collections of children's poetry. There are many shorter poems for little people to memorize - even at three or four years old!
A delightful poem that we heard for many years was called My Beautiful Palace. The truths it contained had a way of speaking even to grown up hearts.
My Beautiful Palace.
A beautiful palace my King gave to me,
And all through my lifetime my home it will be.
I call it my body, to use as I will,
But this I remember; that God owns it still.
From things that would harm it, I'll keep it away,
And carefully guard it by night and by day.
Its windows and doors are my lips, ears, and eyes.
Dear King, help me use them in ways that are wise.
-Louise M. Oglevee
Our now almost 19 year old son can still recite with a grin, his favorite poem as a small red-haired boy - one that was memorized by all of our boys when they were little - The Caterpillar (what little boy can resist smiling at this one!)
Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry,
Take your walk to the shady leaf or stalk,
May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly
-Christina G. Rossetti
(taken from a shorter version from First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind)
Memorization is wonderful for the mind, beautiful and soothing to listen to, fun to recite out loud, full of new and exciting words, and a splendid way to spend a cold and stormy winter afternoon together.
(hot chocolate with marshmallows required for total enjoyment)