I am a fan of John Benjamin’s “The Bully Pulpit” page. Every couple of days he captures an intelligent, compassionate, witty, or startling quote from a leading author or historical figure. This quick response by Peter Hitchens on poetry is worth the while.
Questioner: I teach five-year-olds and we’ve been doing poetry — they love writing it. But making them sit down and recite poems would just be a waste of their time and a waste of my time.
Peter Hitchens: Well, I’ll recite you one a teacher taught me some 40 years ago:
Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
[Applause] And I’m very pleased that my head is full of things like that, and also lots of hymns, which I also remember — and I feel very sorry for anybody who hasn’t had the chance to learn them. And I think it is a great condemnation of our school system that so few…
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