Task: You’re asked to recite a poem (or song lyrics) from memory — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Does it have a special meaning, or is there another reason it has stayed, intact, in your mind?
When I was in Junior school, there was an annual ‘Sugg Cup’ poetry and reading competition.
Each child was tasked with picking a poem to recite to their class. Depending on the year, these poems ranged from cleverly constructed rhyming nonsense to eloquent verses from renowned poets. The teachers would then nominate a couple of children from each class to represent their year and read their poem to the whole school – head teacher included, terrifying!
When I was six years of age I was appointed to represent Year 2 in this prestigious affair. And to this day I can still remember just how nervous I was, standing on that huge stage looking out at the sea of students and teachers. I still clearly remember how small I felt on that stage, and thinking just how quiet my voice sounded. I remember thinking too how peculiar it was that after all that rehearsing, here I was on stage ready to go, and yet my shyness inhibited that verve that I had created when reciting to my mum in the kitchen.
The Picallili Monster
Who’s that coming,
Walking down the street?
It’s the Picalilli Monster
With his BIG green feet
It’s the Picallili Monster
With his cauliflower nose
His big yellow body
And his little green toes
He’ll sit all day
With lots of children in his lap,
And it doesn’t really matter
If they get a little yellow,
For the Picalli monster is SUCH a jolly fellow!
By David Andrews.
14 years later and I can still remember this poem by heart. And needless to say, I am still just as terrified at the prospect of public speaking as six year old me was.