The poem for September is actually the poem for September and October, so tune in for the October 31 post to find out what the poem is. In the meantime, let’s chat about how I keep all these poems in my head.
Or at least that was what this post was supposed to be about as I was going to have the plan in place by the time I got to this post. Alas, here I am with no plan. So we shall create one.
When I started the project, the plan was that I would work on the current month’s poem daily and Sunday would be my review day. I knew the key to remembering all the poems would be to keep them fresh in my mind so I would recite all the poems in order from beginning to end weekly. This worked pretty well until I got about a year and a half in. Then there were too many poems to whip through on a Sunday. And Sunday turned out to not be such a good day for review anyway, as it doesn’t usually involve a lot of biking or walking.
I find that I can usually remember the previous year’s poems, the poem I’m working on and the previous month’s poem, but have trouble remembering the previous six months poems. There seems to be a gap where the poem has to sit forgotten in the brain for a bit before it emerges into consciousness again.
So here’s the new plan. I’ve typed a list of all the poems I’ve memorized. At this point, it’s 31 poems. I’ve also got them listed quarterly by year. For instance: January, (2010–Invictus, 2011 The Pool Players) February (2010–February, 2011–Oranges) March (2009–Incident, 2010–Otherwise, 2011–Wild Geese) These are both in Excel so I can add to them as I add more poems. The plan will be that the current review is the current quarter we are in. September is the last month in the July/August/September quarter. Beginning in October I will review the poems in the October/November/December Quarter. I will also go back over the previous six months of poems.
I won’t have to do this for each poem every day. In fact, that would be a bit of overkill. Instead, I can review one poem per day while I am dressing in the morning. I’ve started a hard copy poem book that contains each poem I’ve memorized. I will also make an extra copy of this book for my bag. A lot of my poem reciting happens when I’m walking or riding the bike. Having a secondary poem book to refer to will be handy for when the exact words don’t come immediately in my head. Right now I get to a point like that and think, “damn it. Something, da dah, da dah da dah something.” Then I have to remember to look it up when I get home which never happens.
The other thing I’m going to do is let the poems I don’t really like go. Such is the case for ‘Praise Song for the Day.” (October 2010) It was a complex poem that I really didn’t like by the end of last October when it was all stuck in my head. Looking at it now, I remember almost nothing of it. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the current month’s poem and don’t have the energy to shove it back in. I may come back to it someday, but not right now.
The September/October selection may bleed over into November. We shall see what October’s memorization brings.