My friend April shared one such story with me. When April was in the 5th grade, her teacher asked everyone in her class to memorize the poem Believe in Yourself by Edgar A. Guest. When the students had committed the poem to memory and could recite it perfectly for the teacher, they earned a special laminated copy of the poem. The first student to memorize the poem had “#1” written on her copy, the second had “#2,” etc.April worked SO HARD to learn that poem, and really wanted to be one of the first students to memorize it. But even though she ended up with “#19” on her copy, she can still recite the entire poem from memory and values it both for its special message and for the childhood memories it brings back. The poem has such a wonderful message that I will share it here:
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)Believe in yourself! Believe you were made
to do any task without calling for aid.
Believe, without growing too scornfully proud,
that you, as the greatest and least are endowed.
A mind to do thinking, two hands and two eyes
are all the equipment God gives to the wise.
Believe in yourself! You are divinely designed
and perfectly made for the work of mankind.
The truth you must cling to through danger and pain;
the heights others have reached you can also attain.
Believe to the very last hour, for it's true.
That what ever you will, you've been gifted to do.
Believe in yourself and step out unafraid.
By misgivings and doubt be not easily swayed.
You've the right to succeed; the precision of skill
which betokens the great you can earn if you will!
The wisdom of the ages is yours if you'll read.
But you've got to believe in yourself to succeed.
One of my childhood favorites is “The Cupboard” by Walter De La Mare (to read it, go to my Poetry Page). Whenever I read this poem, I am very small again, mesmerized by the words and fascinated by the picture of the cupboard and “grandmamma” on the page. The old book it’s in sits on my shelf today, always ready to lead me on a fun trip down memory lane!
One last suggestion to celebrate National Poetry Month:Take some time today to remember an old childhood favorite, and see what memories it brings back. The power of a well-loved poem knows no bounds!