Build a Muscular Memory

“Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words,” claims Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I was having coffee with my son one morning and I asked him about memorable teaching moments from high school. I was prepping for class and figured I could plagiarize an idea and spruce up my lesson plan. He said one of his teachers made the entire class memorize a favorite poem. I said, “Really? Did you do it?” He said he did, each student had to perform the poem in front of the class, for full credit. The interesting outcome was he now had unlimited access to this poem because he carried it with him. He memorized the words and in doing so he connected with the work in a much more meaningful way. I thought this was brilliant. I designed a Spoken Word Poetry final for one of my classes and it was a hit. He also mentioned it was good for developing memory and that got me thinking. So naturally I challenged my entire family to memorize a poem, the name of the poem was Fall In Love, by Father Pedro Arrupe. He is part of the Society of Jesus and practices Jesuit spirituality. We were heading into the Christmas holiday, I considered my challenge a gift, but sadly a gift not well received. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts. 

“Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” So I

thought I would issue the same challenge to you. It took me about 30 minutes to memorize and record the poem. I sent it out to the family as inspiration. That also fell flat but I have much more faith in blog readers! You have to admit we’re a sophisticated group. “Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us,” says Oscar Wilde. You can use the poem below or dig up one of your favorites. Let’s build a muscular memory together! 

Fall in Love
Fr. Pedro Arrupe

Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is,
than falling in love in a quite absolute final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekend,
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

Record your rendition and post it in the comments! Just do it…

The Lost Art of Memorizing Poetry – A great article!

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