Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Struggle and Rimes

These are from the book Two Hundred Poems for Teachers of Industrial Arts Education, compiled by William L. Hunter.
Life is forever calling--
The school forever still,
And the lad who looks from its windows
Must hold him will a will.
Teachers and books and playmates Inveigle him to stay--
But wind and brook and open field
Call, "Up, lad! and away."
My mother, having started her kindergarten career teaching in Ft. Dodge, Iowa, loved to tell the story of little Dougie Denker's great escape. Her classroom was on the lower level of the school building, with the windows only slightly above ground level. "Miss Bye, Miss Bye! Dougie's escaped!" her children cried. And no doubt, for many of us, the longing to escape from school or from a long meeting has crossed our minds. The police later found Dougie standing in the road, directing traffic on main street.
Rimes by a Carpenter
The world is filled with music.
Sweet and charming to the ear,
Lilt of bird and song of human
Fill the gloomy heart with cheer;
But to me there is no music
So entrancingly the same
As the swishing sound that issues
When I'm pushing my old plane.

There are cultivated voices,
Prima donnas coloratur,
Harps and viols and lutes of wonder
That inspire and throb and lure;
But to me the Pipes of Pan
And all the rest do naught but fail
When I'm listening to my hammer
Ringing true upon a nail.

There are bands with martial music
That expand and thrill the soul;
And choirs with heavenly splendor
Make the mighty echoes roll;
There are thrilling, warlike bagpipes
Bringing loud the clash of sword,
But they sink to mere oblivion
When I'm sawing through a board.

Let the silver trumpets tremolo,
Let the golden-throated sing;
Arpeggios, keys and motifs
Of course are quite the thing;
But I still affirm with vigor
Though I'm classed the king of fools,
There's a soul-expanding charm
About the music of my tools.
-- A. E. Gray
While these are not the world's greatest poems, they represent a sentiment and set of values we might note as diminished in our current cultural landscape.

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