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Quick – is there a poet in the house? I am driven to distraction trying to remember the name of the author and/or title of a certain poem. I have only one line to connect me to it, something about mother telling me what matters at a funeral not what you said but that you showed – but I doubt I have the words right.  Oh the pain.  Using The Google isn’t any help for it is a case or garbage in gets garbage out.  Typing in the words “Poem” and “Mother taught me” generates a myriad of close-enough-no-cigar poems (most of poor quality, written on Mother’s day). I suppose I should let it go so when I least expect it the actual poet/title/lines will suddenly pop into my Gulliver.

My memory lapse also happens with bits of lyrics to songs, but this is usually not a problem for long. Someone easily identifies song bits for me, sometimes coming up with the title of the tune even as I struggle to explain what it is I am trying to remember. Opera arias and show tunes are conveniently covered by a coterie of consultants (curiously, most are named Will). Alas, I don’t know of any Spo-fans who are expertise in poetry.

When I was a boy it was considered clever if not high-class to have a handful of poems memorized for sudden recitals (upon request) but these requests never came and I’ve lost the key to safety deposit box in my brain labelled “Poems: memorized”. Even the poetry books on the office shelf are a challenge to remember what poems are in which tome.

I should start writing down Spo-poems and favorites in some sort of work document for easy retrieval. This exercise may jostle my memory to recall how to recite a few of them – other than Mr. Eliot’s Guide to Practical Cats poems.  Spo-fans are welcome to leave in the comment his or her ‘favorite poem’ title(s) for me to look up and read. Who knows, maybe someone knows the poem about “what mother taught me” (author begins with a “B”).

lost-poem-john

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