Have you ever had a poem stuck in your head?

A particular recent phase of therapy has gotten the opening stanza of Larkin’s This Be The Verse stuck in my head, because it is so true:
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

When I was a wee lad I did a book report on Robert Frost, our Online encyclopedia had Fire and Ice read by Frost himself. It’s was haunting and I’ve remembered it ever since. As far as stuck in my head like a song, no poems ever done that.

I get some of the dratted poetry from the Pern series stuck in my head all of the time. It’s not even good!


English teeth, English teeth,
Always having fun
Chomping down on bits of fish
And sausages half done!


The grizzly bear is huge and wild
It has devoured the infant child
The infant child is not aware
It has been eaten by the bear.

Also bits of Emily Dickinson, and I Had a Duck-Billed Platypus When I Was Up at Trinity, and parts of A Song for Simeon, especially

Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation
Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel’s consolation
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.

On a cheerier note, I’ve had Auden’s *O Tell me the Truth about Love * stuck in my head for the last week… At least the first verse

When I am very tired and not yet asleep, I hear:

When I lay me down to St. Ives,
I tried to fart, but soiled my britches.
Death could not wait, either, and he did the same.
Richard Corey went home last night,
And prayed the lord my soul to keep.
And prayed my shoes their soles to keep.
Butt soft 13-watt light through yonder Widow Banks,
It is the east, and Juliet is the one this week.
I write the songs that no one else can stand,
Of broken hearts among the clean white sand.
I broke her heart with the back of my mind,
I broke her heart with the back of my mind.

That’s when I realize my brain is set on Shuffle.

Red lips are not so red as the stained stones kissed by the English dead… (Wilfred Owen).

Over and over and over and over again.