By Heart – Attempt 1 – The Eagle by Alfred Tennyson

I decided to start my lockdown project this morning.

Ted Hughes uses his introduction to recommend an older technique to learn poems off. Learning by rote – he argues – was an attempt ‘to eradicate imagery from all aspects of life’ by the Puritan/political ascendency of the Civil War and has become the norm. However, using memory techniques that focus on strongly visualised imagery was more effective and emerged in ancient times.

It was really interesting and a bit abrupt but I’ll try and bear it in mind. certainly I find song lyrics easier to remember than poetry so the idea of rhythms and creative story links does make sense to me.

Still, I picked a 6 line poem. Because I am not an idiot. Go for the easy win!

The Eagle

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.


When I first read this, I wasn’t sure how I could add more imagery! But then I read it aloud. And the natural rhythm kicked in and I think I’ve managed it! Huzzah!

One thought on “By Heart – Attempt 1 – The Eagle by Alfred Tennyson

  1. Pingback: A poem, a walk and a friend | DrNeevil's Notes

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