Knew a number of them, and could recite a few too, I'm sure. But the only ones I like to recite are those that somehow touch me, like The Charge Of The Light Brigade
, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
(Robert Frost), or this one by John Dunne :
No Man Is An Island
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Another one I love to retell, particularly to children, is the curious case of Gelett Burgess, a well known author, poet, and many other things; but the one poem he's most known for, was a small ditty he scribbled off casually -
I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!
This poem became so famous that he was asked to recite it wherever he went, irritating him quite a bit. Finally he tried to disown it with another one :
Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow"—
I'm Sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you Anyhow
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!
Makes for interesting conversation. I too had a follow-up laugh when one of my friends apparently liked it and emailed me back with the question : "Can you please send me that poem about that pink buffalo
you recited?" Dunno if she saw the humor in her question when she re-read it later.