Burns' Night, Montreal by Night, and Jay Lake at Night

One of the first poems I memorised was Robert Burns' A Red, Red Rose:

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile.

I've memorised a few because I loved them so much; this one was initially memorised for school, though I do like it. I can't remember why this poem, though. Did I choose it? Did a teacher pick it for me? Later on I had to learn Blake's Tyger Tyger, as well. Which poems have you memorised and how did you select them?

This Friday is Burns' Day, the 254th anniversary of the poet's birth. Raise a dram or toast a haggis!

The other day, the BBC reported that a Scottish researcher who discovered seven Burns manuscripts - including letters between the poet and his close friends - in 2010 inside a study of Burns' works, will present the findings of his research at Glasgow University's Burns Conference. I've always wanted to discover letters or other writings from my favourite authors. Imagine buying one of Tolkien's houses and finding something behind the wallpaper or elsewhere? I've daydreamed about visiting, in England, a random car boot sale (like a garage sale, but located in a field or parking lot, with everyone selling their wares from the trunks of their cars) and finding Canadian artist and author Emily Carr's lost journal from her time in a sanatorium in England.

Meanwhile, on the first night of the return of hockey, astronaut Commander Hadfield tweeted this amazing photo of Montreal at night:

My house is kind of in the middle left...

Also meanwhile, I'm still playing catch up. Lots of editing still to do (ROW80!), to meet my 10 February goal, and lots of bloggers still to visit, including:

Tiffany Allee, who has new books out!

Carole Anne Carr, who's going to release her latest book, Snakeskin and Failed Feathers, as an e-serial before its publication!

Carrie Anne Brownian, who talks typography! Whenever I get really bored by the available choices, or I need that extra bit of motivation to edit, I switch to Tolkien font:

And... Author Jay Lake! I haven't read any of his stuff yet. But I got involved, as I do many things recently, one night on Twitter when Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill and others were talking about the Acts of Whimsy fundraiser to help fund Lake's advanced cancer treatment/genetic testing.

About two minutes after my donation went through (I really want to hear Neil Gaiman cover a Magnetic Fields song on ukulele), PayPal started a kerfuffle by denying Lake access to the funds. Eventually, it all worked out. In the process, I discovered a new author and got to see all kinds of acts of whimsy, including Scalzi singing a "lost" Bob Dylan song. I've only read one Scalzi story so far, Old Man's War, which I'd heartily recommend, and which leads me to, once again, cry out "So many books, not enough time!"

But I'm reading Helene Boudreau's Real Mermaids Don't Need High Heels at the moment (review and interview coming soon!) and loving it, and rereading the fifth book of the History of Middle-earth and wishing, all over again, that I lived in England in the 1920s/30s.

What books have you been making time for?


Michael Di Gesu said…
Hi, Deniz,

Sounds like you're still in a whirlwind of business. Me too. I think i'd like to read a classic for my next read. I used to read classics all the time before I became a writer, but since ... not one.

So the next book ... not EBOOK ... I curl up with will be something from my mini library in my closet... LOL.

Know all A A Milne poems by heart, from reading them to classes, a real treasure trove.

Thank you so much for adding a reference to me, Deniz, very kind x
Hi Deniz .. time - what is that? too little of anything to get near to touching the to do list of today!

Sounds like you're mighty busy and enjoying participating in things ..

As Michael says .. a whirlwind of business ... good luck with your 10 Feb deadline .. cheers Hilary
Deniz Bevan said…
Lovely idea, Michael, and I have just the book for you - Brat Farrar by Josephne Tey. A lovely intriguing wonderful English family mystery. Just finished it this morning. I love it!

Happy to do it, Carole!

Thank you, Hilary!
Sorry, don't think I have any poems memorized.
Cant quite see the Canadiens playing from altitude either...
Deniz Bevan said…
Turned out to be a good thing, Alex - can't believe they lost on Saturday!
It certainly would be wonderful to find unpublished works of an admired author.

I don't think I ever had to memorize a poem. We did do Robert Frost's A Road Less Traveled in choir, but it's not the same if you learn it to music, is it?
Deniz Bevan said…
Oh, that's nice, Theresa! I wish I could sing :-)
M Pax said…
I do love that poem. I remember reading it for the first time in hs. I took a poetry class.
Crystal Collier said…
I have too many favorite poems... Only ever memorized one Shel Silverstein for a drama exercise and one by "anonymous" because I adored it.

I'm looking forward to your review Of Real Mermaids. (Been debating adding it to the to-read list.) I'm burning through 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, three industry books, one history compilation and debating pulling out one indie published novel for kicks and giggles. Guess I should finish one of the others first, eh?
Denise Covey said…
Some poems learned long ago remarkably stay in our memories. I cannot forget The Ancient Mariner by Coleridge or Annabell Lee by Poe. (((Shivers))). I read tons of books as I don't need much sleep, just as well. I still find it harder to curl up with an ebook, but I'm getting better at it! I've read so many print books this holiday--best was The Witness by Nora Roberts (one of my fave authors.)
Jack said…
I, too, would love to buy Tolkien's house and find one of his stories hidden somewhere. A new story no one else knows about. Or even the original of one out now, written in his hand writing on old, musty paper.

I have heard of the Mermaid book but haven't read it.

Right now, I am making time for the third book in the Howl's Moving Castle series, because it has Howl in it.

I use my glasses case to keep my book open while I knit. It only works if it is a fat book and not overly new. New books never like to stay down. It gets interesting though because I never look at the loose yarn and by the end of it I'm usually lost in a tangled mass of yarn.
Nope, I don't do patterns. I cannot read them, so I just do straight and knit things like fingerless gloves and quilt squares. Mostly just to keep my hands busy I think, and to feel creative. *Smirk*
Romance Reader said…
Hi Deniz!

Great poem and post!

Thanks for the links. I'm reading some good books by unpublished authors at the moment!

Zan Marie said…
All the poems I've memorized were picked by teachers until I read Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress Such a sly come on... ; )
Anonymous said…
Super cool photo! You know I love Montreal, right? We're coming up again this summer.

The most recent book I made time for was Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan and I loved it so much that I hated the end. I cared so much about the characters that I don't like how she left them and I just wanted to jump into the story and make everything better.
Arlee Bird said…
I remember reading that Burns poem. I can't remember memorizing any specific poems. I know I have done it, but I also soon forgot them. I've never been very good at retaining things like that.

A Faraway View
Very cool blog. Interesting posts. ;)
Nice atmosphere guests with you here on the blog. ;]
Yours. Have a nice day. !

Follow me on facebook fanpage and blog
I'm very concerned about this, please. :)
Ciara said…
I've never read the poem before. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!
I learned a poem for school when I was about 10 and that sparked me love for poetry. After that I learned a lot but all of them are in Spanish. :)
alberta ross said…
Well I jumped straight to the Bob Dylan song - fell for him when he very first appeared on the scene and have thought he was great ever since - none of my friends like him 'tho:( Bratt Farrer brilliant book - haven't read it for years maybe I will go seek it out. . .

You have been busy as usual - I can't remember poems except bits the odd line here and there - I do remember teaching the first line of Blake's Tyger Tyger to a 3 year old I was looking after - she thought it great - the only poem learnt at school and remembered was the very first one - must have been late 40s
The Michlemas daisies grow so tall
They peep right over the garden wall
I wonder, I wonder, what they can see
For the Michlemas daisies are taller than me.
Old Kitty said…
It's a beautiful poem to have embedded in one's mind!! I love it!! Isn't it bizarre what the brain remembers from school? I will never ever forget "The Owl and the Pussycat" - memorised at school when I was 8 years old and still in my very old 40+ year old brain, never to leave me!! LOL!!

Take care
P V Ariel said…
Nice to be here, this is my first visit and to read more. I like the presentation and the arrangements. Lovely place to roam around
Will Come again
Best Regards
Keep Inform
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks for coming by M!

I've got too many books on the go, too, Crystal! Never enough time :-)

I remember Annabel Lee, too, Denise - and hey, today's the anniversary of the first publication of The Raven!

Glasses case, good idea, Jack! When I'm weary of knitting, I wind yarn...

Thanks Nas!

I remember that one, Zan Marie!

I love stories like that VB - going to have to add that to my wishlist

Sad thing, Arlee, I usually memorise the first verse and forget the rest...

Thanks Ciara!

I don't know any Spanish ones yet, Georgina. I could try...

I like that poem, alberta! Reminds of one I learned in first grade:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 / once I caught a fish alive / 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 / then I let him go again / why did you let him go? / because he bit my finger so / which finger did he bite? / the little finger on the right!

Thank you Kitty! I love The Owl and the Pussycat, but I only ever remember the first verse.

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