Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mermaids, unicorns, dragons and dodos

Once we used to have boring schoolwork, interlaced with frequent musical interludes. Robert Dessaix describes this very well.
The traditional songs, that we sang lustily, were often incomprehensible - but that didn't matter: I believe that the emotion that the songs conveyed said all.
'Vair me O, O ro van o. Vair me o oh ro van ee ; - sad I am, without thee,'

Sad am I without thee. We understood that bit.


Elisabeth said...

When I'm lonely dear white heart ...quash? the night or ...wild ? the sea,
By loves light my fool heart ,
Sad am I without thee.

It all comes back to me, Frances, minus the two verbs up front.

I love it when whole swags of childhood songs come back to me.

Have you read Jim Murdoch's post on this topic, at least it's on the business of remembering poetry...

Thanks Frances...Now, do you remember?

Yulishka under the lilac tree oh, Far-ia far-ia

Don't cast down your eyes so bright
Come and dance with me tonight
Far ia Far ia Far ia Far ia Far- i-a.

Frances said...

Dark?Black? the night, Elisabeth?
I followed your (implied) recommendation to read Jim Murdoch's post: so rich and full, that I would find it hard to know where to start to respond. But I had quite strong opinions.
Altho' I know much "by heart", we were not required to memorise, but learned largely by repetition or by chanting, as he did the times tables. That most poetry was rhymed and with marked rhythmns no doubt helped this.
It also seems to me to be quite a good way of allowing kids to let off verbal steam. If you know a boy of about 10 -12, ask him to read you "The Song of the Cattle Hunters", and I swear that, as he reads, his eyes will light up and shine.