When I was in grade five, I had a teacher who was close to the age of retirement and thus still had some "old fashioned" notions about teaching. For example, we were all assigned "memory work".
Memory work meant having to find a poem to memorize and then recite in front of our peers. It was a weekly occurrence and we were expected at the end of the year to have recited at least 200 lines or so in total, as I remember. You had the choice of memorizing many small poems or fewer longer poems.
Of all the poems I had to recite, I can still only remember one:
There once was a man
I didn't like memory work at the time, but like so many things now, like station wagons and tea cozies, I now really like the idea of knowing poetry by heart.
One of my favourite authors is Daniel Pinkwater and in his book of essays, Fish Whistle, he recounts that in his early adulthood he had a job on an assembly line. He had to move pieces of metal into place and pull down a lever to affect the said piece over and over again.
It was mind-numbing work and to alleviate the boredom, Daniel would post a poem in front of his eyes and as he 'cherchunked" each piece of metal, he would bellow a line of poetry over the din of machine noise. After lunch, he would remove the piece of poem and recite the poetry by memory. The next day, he would bring another poem in.
And he was fired for weirding-out his colleges.
To keep from weirding-out my colleges, I keep this window of poetry tucked under my work. I've almost know the first stanza by heart.