Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Katydids And The Moon, a poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Image Credit: Wikipedia
Let's enjoy a bit of summer poetry with a nice cold glass of sweetened iced tea! Yep, we are doing it the southern way today. To kick off the month of July, we are presenting the poem Katydids And The Moon, by Madison Julius Cawein.

Madison Cawein (March 23, 1865 – December 8, 1914) was a poet from Louisville, Kentucky. He was the fifth child of William and Christiana (Stelsly) Cawein. His father made patent medicines from herbs. Thus as a child, Cawein became acquainted with and developed a love for local nature. His output was thirty-six books and 1,500 poems. His writing presented Kentucky scenes in a language echoing Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats. He soon earned the nickname the "Keats of Kentucky". He was popular enough that, by 1900, he told the Louisville Courier-Journal that his income from publishing poetry in magazines amounted to about $100 a month.

In 1913, a year before his death, Cawein published a poem called "Waste Land" in a Chicago magazine which included Ezra Pound as an editor. Scholars have identified this poem as an inspiration to T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land, published in 1922 and considered the birth of modernism in poetry. He died on December 8, 1914 and was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. Please enjoy this summer poem by Madison Julius Cawein!

Katydids And The Moon
By Madison Julius Cawein

    Summer evenings, when it's warm,
    In the yard we sit and swing:
    And it's better than a farm,
    Watching how the fireflies swarm,
    Listening to the crickets sing,
    And the katydids that cry,
    "Katy did n't! Katy did!"
    In the trees and flowers hid.
    So I ask my father, "Why?
    What's the thing she did n't do?"
    For he told me that he knew:
    "Katy did n't like to worry;
    But she did so like to talk;
    Gossip of herself and talk;
    Katy did n't like to hurry;
    But she did so like to walk;
    Saunter by herself and walk.
    How is that now for a story?"

    And one night when it was fine,
    And the moon peeped through the trees;
    And the scented jessamine vine
    Swung its blossoms in the breeze,
    Full of sleeping honeybees:
    "That's Old Sister Moon," he said.
    "She's a perfect simpleton;
    Scared to death of Old Man Sun:
    All day long she hides her head."
    And I asked my father why,
    And he made me this reply:
    "Sister Moon's old eyes are weary;
    Her old eyes are very weak;
    Poor and old and worn and weak:
    And the old Sun, with his cheery
    Looks, just makes them leak and leak,
    Like an old can leak and leak.
    That's the reason why, my dearie."

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Celebrating the Corvette's 62nd Birthday with the Black Beauty Vette Haiku

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Today is the 62nd birthday of the Chevrolet Corvette. The first American sports car rolled off of the assembly line on June 30, 1953. To commemorate the day, here is a haiku Black Beauty Vette, by Kym Gordon Moore, a poetic Corvette lover. Happy Birthday to America's Sportscar!

Black Beauty Vette
By Kym Gordon Moore

My ninety-nine Vette
you can call her Black Beauty
a slick, bold sports car!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Happy Birthday to American Poet James Weldon Johnson

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Today we celebrate the birthday of American author, poet, civil rights activist and lawyer, James Weldon Johnson (June 17, 1871 – June 26, 1938). He was known during the Harlem Renaissance for his poems, novels, and anthologies collecting both poems and spirituals of black culture.

Johnson was appointed under President Theodore Roosevelt as U.S. consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua for most of the period from 1906 to 1913. In 1934 he became the first African-American professor to be hired at New York University. Later in life he was a professor of creative literature and writing at Fisk University. Today, we will feature his famous poem Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing.

Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing - often called "The Black National Anthem" - was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons' hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln's Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing
By James Weldon Johnson

Lift ev’ry voice and sing,   
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast’ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;   
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,   
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,   
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might,   
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,   
May we forever stand.   
True to our God,
True to our native land.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Lobster-Quadrille, a Poem to Celebrate National Lobster Day

Today is National Lobster Day. It is observed annually on June 15. Celebrate the day by enjoying your favorite lobster dish, recipe or favorite poem featuring lobsters. Poetry and lobsters? Not quite the combination you would choose? No problem. Poetry can go with just about any cuisine of your choosing.

Today, we are featuring the poem, The Lobster-Quadrille, by Louis Carroll. Born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (January 27, 1832 – January 14, 1898), Carroll was an English writer, mathematician, Anglican deacon, photographer and logician. One of his most famous writings is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

The Lobster-Quadrille
By Louis Carroll

"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail,
"There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle -- will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance? 

"You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!"
But the snail replied "Too far, too far!" and gave a look askance --
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance. 

"What matters it how far we go?" his scaly friend replied.
"There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England the nearer is to France --
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you joint the dance?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June is National Iced Tea Month

We're celebrating ThursTEA Thursday by giving a shoutout to National Iced Tea Month. To all of our tea lovers out there, tell us what your favorite "brew-tiful" flavor of tea is. Iced tea is the ideal drink for summer temperatures, but in the south, it is a beverage staple for us year-round! Iced tea can be brewed from loose tea, made from instant or bagged tea or purchased ready to drink in bottles and cans.

In the good ole summertime or anytime, have a thirst quenching glass of sweetened iced tea with a slice of lemon on the rocks! In case you want to experiment with a variety of flavors of iced tea, you can try Hibiscus-Mint, Rhubarb, Iced Jasmine, Raspberry Rose Hip, Strawberry Basil, Pomegranate or Lemon-Mint iced tea.