Wednesday, March 19, 2008

America's New Song






From Barack Obama's speech March 18 from Philadelphia:



I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.....






From Otto Rene Castillo's poem Apolitical Intellectuals

....."What did you do when the poor suffered,

when tenderness and life burned out of them?"....





[UPDATED: Thanks to Crispus Attucks for including this one:]
I, Too, Sing America

by Langston Hughes
I, too, sing America.


I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.


Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.


Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.




From Walt Whitman's 1855 poem I Hear America Singing:

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics--each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,


The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands;

The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;

The delicious singing of the mother--or of the young wife at work--or of the girl sewing or washing, each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;

The day what belongs to the day--at night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

America's got a developmental song -- that's good. We're going somewhere else....

2 comments:

Crispus Attucks said...

From Langston Hughes :)...

I, too, sing America.


I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.



Tomorrow,

I'll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody'll dare

Say to me,

"Eat in the kitchen,"

Then.



Besides,

They'll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed--



I, too, am America.

- Langston Hughes

N. Hanks said...

C.A. -- thanks so much for this addition!!!