I was an avid memorizer when I was small–long before I could read, I would memorize books and poems and recite them to family and strangers alike, often spouting them off at an almost incomprehensible speed. (Though my mother could hear the rhythm and cadence of the language in these familiar stories, and recognized them when no one else did.) I think it’s just one of those strange things that some children do, even when they don’t understand what the words mean.
*Also? Fie on Billy Collins haters. I’m looking at you, Anis Shivani. Anyone who says nasty things about Mary Oliver, Amy Hempel, Billy Collins, Marilynne Robinson, and Michael Cunningham in the same article will get nothing but scorn from me.