PRECIOUS POETRY: “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW (1807 – 1882)

“The Song of Hiawatha”
by Henry Wadsworth LONGFELLOW (1807 – 1882)

Photogaph by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) in Public Domain

Longfellow’s photo by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) in Public Domain

WIKIPEDIA – “The Song of Hiawatha is an 1855 epic poem, in trochaic tetrameter, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, featuring a Native American hero. In sentiment, scope, overall conception, and many particulars, Longfellow’s poem is a work of American Romantic literature, not a representation of Native American oral tradition. Longfellow insisted, “I can give chapter and verse for these legends. Their chief value is that they are Indian legends.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_Hiawatha

THE SONG OF HIAWATHA (Longfellow)

Should you ask me, whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odors of the forest
With the dew and damp of meadows,
With the curling smoke of wigwams,
With the rushing of great rivers,
With their frequent repetitions,
And their wild reverberations
As of thunder in the mountains?
I should answer, I should tell you,
“From the forests and the prairies,
From the great lakes of the Northland,
From the land of the Ojibways,
From the land of the Dacotahs,
From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Feeds among the reeds and rushes.
I repeat them as I heard them
From the lips of Nawadaha,
The musician, the sweet singer.”
Should you ask where Nawadaha
Found these songs so wild and wayward,
Found these legends and traditions,
I should answer, I should tell you,
“In the bird’s-nests of the forest,
In the lodges of the beaver,
In the hoof-prints of the bison,
In the eyry of the eagle!
“All the wild-fowl sang them to him,
In the moorlands and the fen-lands,
In the melancholy marshes;
Chetowaik, the plover, sang them,
Mahng, the loon, the wild-goose, Wawa,
The blue heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
And the grouse, the Mushkodasa!”
If still further you should ask me,
Saying, “Who was Nawadaha?
Tell us of this Nawadaha,”
I should answer your inquiries
Straightway in such words as follow.
“In the vale of Tawasentha,
In the green and silent valley,
By the pleasant water-courses,
Dwelt the singer Nawadaha.
Round about the Indian village
Spread the meadows and the corn-fields,
And beyond them stood the forest,
Stood the groves of singing pine-trees,
Green in Summer, white in Winter,
Ever sighing, ever singing.
“And the pleasant water-courses,
You could trace them through the valley,
By the rushing in the Spring-time,
By the alders in the Summer,
By the white fog in the Autumn,
By the black line in the Winter;
And beside them dwelt the singer,
In the vale of Tawasentha,
In the green and silent valley.
“There he sang of Hiawatha,
Sang the Song of Hiawatha,
Sang his wondrous birth and being,
How he prayed and how be fasted,
How he lived, and toiled, and suffered,
That the tribes of men might prosper,
That he might advance his people!”
Ye who love the haunts of Nature,
Love the sunshine of the meadow,
Love the shadow of the forest,
Love the wind among the branches,
And the rain-shower and the snow-storm,
And the rushing of great rivers
Through their palisades of pine-trees,
And the thunder in the mountains,
Whose innumerable echoes
Flap like eagles in their eyries;–
Listen to these wild traditions,
To this Song of Hiawatha!
Ye who love a nation’s legends,
Love the ballads of a people,
That like voices from afar off
Call to us to pause and listen,
Speak in tones so plain and childlike,
Scarcely can the ear distinguish
Whether they are sung or spoken;–
Listen to this Indian Legend,
To this Song of Hiawatha!
Ye whose hearts are fresh and simple,
Who have faith in God and Nature,
Who believe that in all ages
Every human heart is human,
That in even savage bosoms
There are longings, yearnings, strivings
For the good they comprehend not,
That the feeble hands and helpless,
Groping blindly in the darkness,
Touch God’s right hand in that darkness
And are lifted up and strengthened;–
Listen to this simple story,
To this Song of Hiawatha!
Ye, who sometimes, in your rambles
Through the green lanes of the country,
Where the tangled barberry-bushes
Hang their tufts of crimson berries
Over stone walls gray with mosses,
Pause by some neglected graveyard,
For a while to muse, and ponder
On a half-effaced inscription,
Written with little skill of song-craft,
Homely phrases, but each letter
Full of hope and yet of heart-break,
Full of all the tender pathos
Of the Here and the Hereafter;–
Stay and read this rude inscription,
Read this Song of Hiawatha!

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DOWNLOAD: The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

OPEN PDF: Longfellow’s Poems 

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HOW TO START A POETRY EPIDEMIC – by Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996)


Cheers, fellow cosmic wanderers! For all of you who thirst for beauty and crave for poetry, I’ve selected some precious words from Joseph Brodsky’s essay “An Immodest Proposal” which might just nourish and enchant ya’. It’s filled with funny and imaginative ideas on how to kickstart an Epidemic of Poetry in our often grayish urban landscapes, pumping up our expressive skills, creative faculties and overall rate of epiphanies. Brodsky jokes around with the plan of widespread production and consumption of condensed human creativity as a means to plant the seeds of collective evolution and linguistic metamorphosis. These excerpts were extracted from On Grief and Reason (New York, 1995, Farrar Straus Giroux), which is truly a pet-book in my personal library and one of the most cherished treasures I brought with me as souvenirs from Toronto’s BMV Books, a place which deserves a ton of heartfelt “bravos!”. Voilá:

 Brodsky“Poetry must be available to the public in far greater volume than it is. It should be as ubiquitous as the nature that surrounds us, and from which poetry derives many of its similes; or as ubiquitous as gas stations, if not as cars themselves. Bookstores should be located not only on campuses or main drags but at the assembly plant’s gates also. Paperbacks of those we deem classics should be cheap and sold at supermarkets. This is, after all, a country of mass production, and I don’t see why what’s done for cars can’t be done for books of poetry, which take you quite a bit further…”

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“Moreover, if the government would recognize that the construction of your library is as essential to your inner vocation as business lunches are to the outer, tax breaks could be made available to those who read, write or publish poetry. The main loser, of course, would be the Brazilian rain forest. But I believe that a tree facing the choice between becoming a book of poems or a bunch of memos may well opt for the former.”

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“In my view, books shoud be brought to the doorstep like electricity, or like milk in England: they should be considered utilities, and their cost should be appropriately minimal. Barring that, poetry could be sold in drugstores (not least because it might reduce the bill from your shrink). At the very least, an anthology of American poetry should be found in every room in every motal in the land, next to the Bible, which will surely not object to this proximity, since it does not object to the proximity of the phone book.”

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“Poetry is the supreme form of human locution in any culture. By failing to read or listen to poets, a society dooms itself to inferior modes of articulation – of the politician, or the salesman, or the charlatan – in short, to its own. It forfeits, in other worlds, its own evolutionary potential, for what distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom is precisely the gift of speech. The charge frequently leveled against poetry – that it is difficult, obscure, hermetic, and whatnot – indicates not the state of poetry but, frankly, the rung of the evolutionary ladder on which society is stuck.”

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“If nothing else, reading poetry is a process of terrific linguistic osmosis. It is also a highly economical form of mental acceleration. Within a very short space a good poem covers enormous mental ground, and often, toward its finale, provides one with an epiphany or a revelation. That happens because in the process of composition a poet employs – by and large unwittingly – the two main modes of cognition available to our species: Occidental and Oriental.  (…) In other words, a poem offers you a sample of complete, not slanted, human intelligence at work.”

JOSEPH BRODSKY
(1940-1996)
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

Read also some of his poems:
Song of Welcome and Verses in April

bRODSKY

Percy Shelley’s poem Ozymandias as illustrated by Zen Pencils

Ozy0 oZy1 Ozy2 Ozy3 Ozy4 Ozy5 Ozy6 Ozy7 Ozy8 Ozy9

 

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said— “two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert…near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lips, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

PERCY SHELLEY
(1792-1822)

Reblogged from Zen Pencils.
Read also: The Economist’s article about this poem.

Mr. Walter White, king of meth dealers, has done a marvelous recitation of Ozymandias in Breaking Bad’s final season. Here it comes, dudes, in Bryan Cranston’s gritty voice:

READ ON!
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DAYS LIKE RAZORS, NIGHTS FULL OF RATS – by Charles Bukowski

Buk

DAYS LIKE RAZORS, NIGHTS FULL OF RATS

as a very young man I divided an equal amount of time between
the bars and the libraries; how I managed to provide for
my other ordinary needs is the puzzle; well, I simply didn’t
bother too much with that –
if I had a book or a drink then I didn’t think too much of
other things – fools create their own
paradise.

in the bars, I thought I was a tough, I broke things, fought
other men, etc.

in the libraries it was another matter: I was quiet, went
from room to room, didn’t so much read entire books
as parts of them: medicine, geology, literature and
philosophy. psychology, math, history, other things, put me
off. with music I was more interested in the music and in the
lives of the composers than in the technical aspects …

however, it was with the philosophers that I felt a brotherhood:
Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, even old hard-to-read Kant;
I found Santayana, who was very popular at the time, to be
limp and a bore; Hegel you really had to dig for, especially
with a hangover; there are many I read who I have forgotten,
perhaps properly so, but I remember one fellow who wrote an
entire book in which he proved that the moon was not there
and he did it so well that afterwards you thought, he’s
absolutely right, the moon is not there.

how the hell is a young man going to deign to work an
8 hour day when the moon isn’t even there?
what else
might be missing?

and
I didn’t like literature so much as I did the literary
critics; they were real pricks, those guys; they used
fine language, beautiful in its way, to call other
critics, other writers, assholes. they
perked me up.

but it was the philosophers who satisfied
that need
that lurked somewhere within my confused skull: wading
through their excesses and their
clotted vocabulary
they still often
stunned
leaped out
with a flaming gambling statement that appeared to be
absolute truth or damned near
absolute truth,
and this certainty was what I was searching for in a daily
life that seemed more like a piece of
cardboard.

what great fellows those old dogs were, they got me past
days like razors and nights full of rats; and women
bargaining like auctioneers from hell.

my brothers, the philosophers, they spoke to me unlike
anybody on the streets or anywhere else; they
filled an immense void.
such good boys, ah, such good
boys!

yes, the libraries helped; in my other temple, the
bars, it was another matter, more simplistic, the
language and the way was
different…

library days, bar nights.
the nights were alike,
there’s some fellow sitting nearby, maybe not a
bad sort, but for me he doesn’t shine right,
there’s a gruesome deadness there-I think of my father,
of schoolteachers, of faces on coins and bills, of dreams
about murderers with dull eyes; well,
somehow this fellow and I get to exchanging glances,
a fury slowly begins to gather: we are enemies, cat and
dog, priest and atheist, fire and water; tension builds,
block piled upon block, waiting for the crash; our hands
fold and unfold, we drink, now, finally with a
purpose:

his face turns to me:
sumpin‘ ya don’t like, buddy?”

“yeah. you.”

“wanna do sumpin‘ about it?”

“certainly.”

we finish our drinks, rise, move to the back of the
bar, out into the alley; we
turn, face each other

I say to him, “there’s nothing but space between us. you
care to close that
space?”

he rushes toward me and somehow it’s a part of the part of the part.

CHARLES BUKOWSKI

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“The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.”

Gil

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
by Gil-Scott Heron


You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and
skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Mendel Rivers to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie Mays
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
on reports from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the right occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so god damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally screwed
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb or
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash or Englebert Humperdink.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back
after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

“I Look Into My Glass” & “The To-Be-Forgotten”: Two poems by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

image_t6

I look into my glass

I look into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, ‘Would God it came to pass
My hearth had shrunk as thin!’

For then, I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
Could lonely wait my endless rest
With equanimity.

But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.

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The To-be-forgotten

I
            I heard a small sad sound,
And stood awhile among the tombs around:
“Wherefore, old friends,” said I, “are you distrest,
            Now, screened from life’s unrest?”
II
            —”O not at being here;
But that our future second death is near;
When, with the living, memory of us numbs,
            And blank oblivion comes!
III
            “These, our sped ancestry,
Lie here embraced by deeper death than we;
Nor shape nor thought of theirs can you descry
            With keenest backward eye.
IV
            “They count as quite forgot;
They are as men who have existed not;
Theirs is a loss past loss of fitful breath;
            It is the second death.
V
            “We here, as yet, each day
Are blest with dear recall; as yet, can say
We hold in some soul loved continuance
            Of shape and voice and glance.
VI
            “But what has been will be —
First memory, then oblivion’s swallowing sea;
Like men foregone, shall we merge into those
            Whose story no one knows.
VII
            “For which of us could hope
To show in life that world-awakening scope
Granted the few whose memory none lets die,
            But all men magnify?
VIII
            “We were but Fortune’s sport;
Things true, things lovely, things of good report
We neither shunned nor sought … We see our bourne,
            And seeing it we mourn.”

Thomas Hardy

Read other poems by the same author:

Franz Liszt (1811-1886), “Faust Symphony”

Fantasy Based on Goethe’s ‘Faust’ (1834), by Theodore Von Holst (1810-1844)

Fantasy Based on Goethe’s ‘Faust’ (1834), by Theodore Von Holst (1810-1844). Via Tate.

A Faust Symphony in three character pictures (German: Eine Faust-Symphonie in drei Charakterbildern), S.108, or simply the “Faust Symphony”, was written by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt and was inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s drama, Faust. The symphony was premiered in Weimar on September 5, 1857, for the inauguration of the Goethe–Schiller Monument there.

The first clue as to the work’s structure is in Liszt’s title: “A Faust Symphony in Three Character Sketches after Goethe: (1) Faust, (2) Gretchen, (3) Mephistopheles.” Liszt does not attempt to tell the story of Goethe’s drama. Rather, he creates musical portraits of the three main protagonists. By doing so, though this symphony is a multi-movement work and employs a chorus in its final moments, Liszt adopts the same aesthetic position as in his symphonic poems. The work is approximately seventy-five minutes in duration… – Wikipedia

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