Poetry Reading

The final chat presentation at last week’s Catholic Writers Conference Online was Catholic Poetry with David Craig.  Since it was the final chat, I listened in.  During the discussion, I had a poetry flashback.  Back in sophomore honors English, my teacher, Mrs. Goheen gave us the assignment of memorizing and reciting a poem in front of the class.  I was/am not a huge fan of poetry to begin with, so this was an assignment akin to flossing and brushing the dog’s teeth.  When I see poetry in books, the words get fuzzy and begin to dance around into a deadly vortex.  As the same time, I admit there are several poems and poets I really like.  Well, anyway, completely true to form, I forget all about the memorization assignment until late evening the night before we are to be thrown to the wolves.  I search frantically through our home bookshelf listening to the “I told you so’s” from dear Mother and the laughing of the brothers.  All in the know go to bed that night thinking old MH is toast in the morning in English class.

I sit in class the next morning, waiting to be called to the gallows.  When my name is called, I can feel the class and Mrs. Goheen in anticipation of great failure as I walk to the front of the class.  For those who don’t know me, I am a lineman, plain and simple.  I was probably the last over the cut line to get into honors English. I was a seat filler, a butt in the seat.  So, there I stand in front of the class, trying not to make eye contact with anyone.  I crack my knuckles and clear my throat for a little slapstick comic relief, take my best Shakespearian stance and begin.

“Behold the duck.

It does not cluck.

A cluck it lacks.

It quacks.

It is especially fond

Of a puddle or pond

When it dines or sups,

Its bottoms ups.

The Duck by Odgen Nash”

I can’t remember what grade I received on the project.  The audience seemed entertained and Mrs. Goheen seemed satisfied with the selection.  I am sure it was probably a B+.   Mrs. Goheen asked why I picked that particular poem.  I told her it was my favorite poem, but in all reality, it fit when written on the top of my tennis shoe, just in case I got stage fright.  But, The Duck became my favorite poem and still the only one I have burned to memory.  Thank you Ogden Nash.

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1 Comment

Filed under Rants, Reads, Writes

One response to “Poetry Reading

  1. A. Catlin

    Bananas: http://www.boppin.com/cummings.html

    One of the best of all time: http://www.insidework.net/static/downloads/products/choruses_from_the_rock.pdf

    I love how “Ecclesiastical” the first stanza is.

    Like

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