my mom went to grade school in
chicago, near north side I think it
was called carl schurz may still be
there the principal came to the first
grade every monday morning gave
the class a poem to memorize he'd
return on friday to hear the students
recite the poem he did the same with
each grade so that by the time mom
moved on to high school she'd
committed to memory a poem a week
for 8 years the principal chose works
suitable to the age of each class
in my mother's old age blind and
confined she recited hours of poetry
with a granddaughter; both they and I
blessed that principal – I had only one
high school teacher who had us
memorize – some works I memorized
on my own I've found now in these
older years that reciting poetry in my
mind while courting sleep drives away
extraneous thoughts leads to more rapid
peaceful slumber I'm grateful to mom's
principal plus that teacher who assigned
to me ulysses, to a skylark, shakespeare

2022 Jacqueline Jackson

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