That’s a tough question. A very tough question. Because I’m pretty sure before I learned to talk, I learned poetry. My mom was, and still is, an avid reader. She read to me since birth. As I’ve often blogged about her, she’s instilled my love of words. I’m fairly certain that I recognized poetry and prose long before I “knew” anything about them.
I can’t be sure that I correctly recall the first poem I ever memorized, but The Itsy Bitsy Spider comes to mind. That, and perhaps any rhyme from Winnie the Pooh.
And Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss rocks! I grew up on The Cat in the Hat, and loved loved LOVED when Mom would read to us from The Cat in the Hat’s Dictionary.
Once on a weekend afternoon, Mom was busy in the kitchen (another love she shared with me!), so my brother and I asked Dad to read to us from the Dictionary.
Poor Dad! He gave up after five minutes, because my brother and I kept telling him, “Make the voices like Mom does,” “That’s not how Mom reads it,” and “You’re doing it wrong.” I can see the frustration on his face. He tried, he really did; but a deep man’s voice can’t compete with a soft mother’s inflections when it comes to the imagination of two young children.
And while I still can’t be sure what the first poem I memorized was, this prompt certainly brought back fond family memories.
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!