I heard an interesting interview today with a woman who was talking about the importance of transit poetry programs. At one point she made the comment that she memorizes a poem every day, which took she and the host off on a tangent about memory and the value of having poetry kept in one's mind--he'd never thought about doing it himself (which seems odd to me).
I spent most of my youth memorizing portions of the King James Bible. "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." It was a normal part of our home life to be always learning verses, and I became quite good at it. To this day I can remember much of it, and it mixes with my reading, thinking, and prayer.
I also memorized poetry. One poem I have committed to memory is Robert Frost's Fire and Ice. I never actually sat down and learned it; it seemed to imprint itself on my memory at the first reading. And twenty years later it still comes back to me at odd and interesting times, as it did today listening to the radio. I'll recite it for you, not bothering to look if I'm correct or not. This is how I remember it:
Some say the world will end in fire.
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate,
To say that for destruction ice
is also great
And would suffice.