By the end of her second year at Miss Stephenson's, Ume was at the top of her class, covered with glory at the school's second annual commencement ceremony, the news of which had reached Sutematsu and the Bacons in Colebrook. "A large number of premiums were distributed, and it will surprise the public to learn that not less than four of them were received by the young Japanese, Miss Ume Tsuda, for composition, writing, arithmetic and deportment," the Daily National Republican announced. "And it may be stated here that, at a previous examination of the class in elocution, while the remainder of the pupils read their pieces from a book, this child recited hers from memory, without making a single mistake, and her piece was the White-footed Deer, by Bryant."
At eighteen stanzas, William Cullen Bryant's ballad was indeed a feat of memorization for a nine-year-old. Proud of his charge, Charles Lanman wrote to the poet himself of Ulme's triumph. "If there is any merit in my poem," Bryant replied, "it consists in the spirit of humanity towards the inferior animals which it inculcates. She may forget the poetry, such as it is; but the lesson, I hope, will not be forgotten." Ume's accomplishments, commented another newspaper, "would imply that there is a live Yankee element in the Oriental mind."
Are you still mulling the quote from the book? I am! Listen to the poet. One can forget the poem, but not the message. May that which you commit to memory be something full of ideas. Oh!, Jennifer said that, in memory, the facts are immersed in ideas, not detached from them and externally imposed.
I see children with a thirst for memorizing that which they find beautiful. Some friends have children who live and breath Shakespeare, epic poems, parts of speeches, Bible verses -and chapters-, but not because mom has forced them to do so, but because they thrive and bask in the beautiful ways our poets say important things, and also the most common things, which are in essence the most important ones.
Many men and women, in times of torture, have found their only substance in His Words, just by reciting and singing to themselves all they remembered from the Scriptures.
Let the comfort and healing act of repetition of that which is beautiful, noble, and true, be what shapes your heart and takes possession of your mind and your whole being.
on Folk Songs
There you'd find links to CD's, playlists, and what's best, the answer to this question, What is the value of folk-songs?