Inspired by @richardrushfield. In elementary school we had to memorize a poem every week. These are the ones that have stuck with me.
  1. The Jabberwocky, Lewis Carroll
    Useful for flirting
  2. Ozymandias, Shelley
    Useful for giving toasts
  3. O Captain! My Captain!, Whitman
    A substitute taught us this poem and when our regular teacher came back, she was DISTRAUGHT to discover that we hadn't been taught that it was about Abraham Lincoln. We thought it was about a captain.
  4. If, Rudyard Kipling
    I recall truly disagreeing with some of this in 3rd grade. One heap of all your winnings? How about you make TWO heaps, each with HALF your winnings, and just risk ONE of the two heaps on one turn of pitch-and-toss. Then you can consider other investments for the second heap if that turn of pitch-and-toss doesn't work out for you.
  5. Destruction of Sennacherib, Lord Byron
    Would recite with a dramatic intensity that in retrospect was likely disconcerting to adults. Loved it.
  6. In Flanders Fields, McCrae
    Now that I look back at this list, some of these are pretty fucked up to be teaching 8- to 10-year-olds. I relished this poem.
  7. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, Wordsworth
    Hated it in 5th grade. Not enough killing maybe?
  8. Paul Revere's Ride, Longfellow
    Have forgotten most of this tedious-to-memorize poem but random stanzas unspool in my brain sometimes because of the rhythm, especially the first stanza and of course: "One if by land, and two if by sea;/ And I on the opposite shore will be,/ Ready to ride and spread the alarm/ Through every Middlesex village and farm." Notable in 4th grade because of the "sex" in Middlesex.
  9. The Arrow and the Song, Longfellow
    This poem is completely inane and sometimes it gets stuck in my head in the shower for no reason.