Monday, February 15, 2010

Why I Love My High School English Teacher

My high school English teacher used to make us memorize poems. By ear. She would say a line, we would repeat it. Over and over until we knew the poem.

Today I went to the British Library. I saw handwritten manuscripts from Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, and the Beatles. I saw the Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest Bible in the world; the Magna Carta; and part of Strawberry Fields Forever written on scrap paper. It was awesome.

I came upon this Wordsworth poem, scrawled across faded paper. Some words were crossed out, some were underlined. It was hard to read, but as soon as I made out the first line, I was able to recite the rest from memory. It is one of my favorites:

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

Willows Academy education: $40,000
Plane ticket to London: $800
Reciting Wordsworth while reading the poem's First Draft: Priceless

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