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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Poetry- music without notes

At Green gables, we have an old book of poetry on our cellar shelf. Growing up, I loved taking it off the shelf and reading aloud to my sister, remembering the fun ones and pondering the sad ones.  Here are a few of our favorites for you to enjoy:

An Overworked Elocutionist- Carolyn Wells

There was once a little boy whose name was Robert Reese;
And every Friday afternoon he had o speak a piece.
So many poems thus he learned, that soon he had a store
Of recitations in his head... and still kept learning more.

And now this is what happened: He was called upon one week
And totally forgot the piece he was about to speak.
His brain he cudgeled. Not a word remained within his head!
And so he spoke at random, and this is what he said:

"My beautiful, my beautiful, who standest proudly by,
It was the schooner Hesperus- the breaking waves dashed high!
Why is the Forum crowded? What means this stir in Rome?
Under a spreading chestnut tree there is no place like home!

"Whence come these shrieks so wild and shrill? Across the sands o'Dee?
Lo, I will at thy right hand and keep the bridge with thee!
For this was Tell a hero? For this did Glesser die?
'The curse is come upon me' said the Spider to the Fly.

"When Britain first at Heaven's command said, "Boatswain, do not tarry;
The despot's heel is on thy shore, and while ye may, go marry.'
Let the dogs delight to bark and bite the British Grenadiers,
Lars Porsena of Clusium lay dying in Algiers!

"The sea! The sea! The open sea! Roll on, roll on, thou deep!
Maxwelton braes are bonny, but Macbeth hath murdered sleep!
Answer me burning shades of night! What's Hecuba to me?
Alone stood brace Horatius! The boyoh! Where was he?

When Freedom from her mountain height cried "Twinkle little star,
Shoot if you must this old grey head, King Henry of Naverre!
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue castled crag of Drachenfels!
My name is Norval, on the Grampian hills, ring out, wild bells.

If you're waking, call me early, to be or not to be,
Curfew must not ring tonight. Oh woodsman spare that tree!
Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on! And let who will be clever!
The boy stood on the burning deck, But I must go on forever!"

His elocution was superb, his voice and gestures fine;
His schoolmates all applauded as ha said the last line.
"I see it doesn't matter," Robert thought," what words I say,
As long as I declaim with oratorical display!"

Daddy Fell Into The Pond- Alfred Noyes

Everybody grumbled. The sky was grey.
We had nothing to do and nothing to say.
We were nearing the end of a dismal day,
And there seemed to be nothing beyond,
Daddy fell into the pond!

And everyone's face grew merry and bright,
And Timothy danced for sheer delight.
'give me the camera, quick oh quick!
He's climbing out of the duckweed'

Then the gardener suddenly slapped his knee,
And doubled up, shaking silently.
And the ducks all quacked as if they were daft
And it sounded as if the old drake laughed.

O, there wasn't a thing that didn't respond
Daddy fell into the pond! 

I Have A Rendezvous With Death- Alan Seeger

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air-
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me to his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath-
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill.
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear...
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

'Hope' is the thing with feathers- Emily Dickinson

'Hope' is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I've heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity -
It asked a crumb - of me.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device, 

His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from it's sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung,
The accents of that unknown tongue,

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,

"Try not the Pass!" the old man said;
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!"
And loud that clarion voice replied,

"Oh stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!"
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,

"Beware the pine tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,

At the break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,

A traveler, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,

There in the twilight cold and grey,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And far from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell like a falling star,

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