Recite: repeat aloud or declaim (a poem or passage) from memory before an audience.
I have committed many things to memory over time—poems, prayers, proverbs and the like. Prayers were recited in church of a Sunday, proverbs to make me look clever and poetry —well, that’s another matter.
The poetry recital occurred just once, at an eisteddfod in front of a panel of bespectacled and aging adjudicators. The stage was long, deep and bare. The hall, cavernous. The crowd, mostly parents whose children were far more talented than anyone else could hope to be, were hostile behind their plastered smiles and deceiving nods of encouragement.
Across the boards I trod to the place marked with a cross. Centre stage in my pretty brown velvet skirt and apricot satin top. Hands held below the sternum, fingers clasped gently. I began.
She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
“Winter is dead.”