I Remember Verses Longer Than Anything Else

I'm not a poetic personality. My orientation and my way in life was with mathematics, computers, engineering. I don't have musical talent either. Still, for some strange reason, bits and pieces of poetry stay in my mind for a long time.

It all started with English. I was learning this language from the four Eckersley volumes. In volume three, there were a few pages of poetry. It must have been 1967. but I can still quote: "Oh, my love is like a red, red rose, that's newly sprung in June". I made no effort to remember these - they just got stuck in my mind.

Once I got started, other languages made their way. My memory is not too big, and I can't describe myself as an avid reader. But there seems to be a place for a little bit of everything. I remember patriotic verses in Romanian. I can somehow recite from my favorite Hungarian poet, which I read at 21.  In Russian, the opening line of Tatiana's letter to Onegin comes to my mind.  When my marriage gets absurdly complicated, I can't repress the memory of a Villon verse: "Mais priez vous le Dieu qu'il tous nous veuille absoudre".  And then, a tiny bit of Hebrew  -  "there was evening and there was morning, a then came the second day". German -  I vaguely remember some children's riddles in that "Hansel und Gretel" book I learned when I was 8.  That's about it, no more languages for the moment.

In many cases, my recollection of poetry is not entirely accurate, but nevertheless, I keep these melodic bits in my mind.

Once though, I got tested beyond my limits. It was Christmas Eve 1977, and I was invited to a family with small children. Other relatives gathered from far and wide. The kids, 3 and 5, were sent to bed early, but they insisted on a bedtime story. We were all family, and the kids picked me as the story-teller. They went to their room, climbed into their beds and handed me the big, brightly colored story book.  It was in Swedish !   I never heard one word in that language, and the kids did not speak it either. Someone from another branch of the family, must have brought the book and read it to them earlier. So, the kids knew what to expect in the story and when. With some encouragement from my little public, I read the whole story. The kids followed the drawings and knew when to laugh or frown. They corrected my pronunciation every now and then, but overall appeared to be content with my rendition.  When the story was over, they went happily to sleep.  All I remember from the Swedish bedtime story is: "Lulla Carla".

AgeingThinker AgeingThinker
61-65, M
2 Responses Feb 11, 2010

LV - this is an unfair question -:)<br />
I think "Lulla" means "nice, cute" in Swedish, but better ask someone who speaks that language.

You have a great memory,<br />
<br />
And what Lulla Carla means? is it a name?