Mary Beth Writes

First of all, thanks to Facebook The Jon S. Randal Peace Page, which brings short biographies every day of people who lived and worked towards art, understanding, justice, freedom, and peace.

Like this, today. 

 I had heard of Langston Hughes though I had never read his writings.  Why do we all know these lyrics we learned as children - “the perilous fight, the ramparts, the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air?” - but we don’t know recognize this powerful, century-old American poem by Langston Hughes?

Take two moments here at the beginning of Black History month to read it. Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902.

…..

"Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine—the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!"

Comments

This is so moving, so awesome, so poignant and dare we still dream? So hopeful! Thanks for sharing, Mary Beth

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Corona Virus Disease - 2019

Corona Virus Disease-2019  Covid-19

WE HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING QUITE LIKE THIS.

Yes, there was polio when some of us were little … but Thank You, Dr. Salk … the vaccine was invented while we were too small to understand what was going on. I remember being carried in my dad's arms to get a shot at the county courthouse. We stood in a long line of parents bringing in their kids.

The Self-Defense of Fierce Whimsicality

We watched the Nova special about Jeff Bezos and Amazon this week.  Boy, there’s a way to be depressed at our old white men elected officials who are totally NOT up to the challenges of the society in which we live.

 Len sat next to Bezos at a business event in 1997. They talked about my frugality newsletter. Apparently his wealth didn’t rub off on Len and our frugality didn’t rub off on him.

The Error is the Sign of Love

Lewis Hyde wrote a poem entitled “This Error is the Sign of Love” that might suit for Valentines Day.

Read more about Mr. Hyde right here.      

 ....

 

This error is the sign of love,

the crack in the ice where the otters breathe, the tear that saves a man from power, the puff of smoke blown down the chimney one morning, and the

    widower sighs and gives up his loneliness, the lines transposed in the will so the widow must scatter

Waukesha School Board 2/12/2020

This week I attended Waukesha’s School Board meeting. I don’t have anything huge to say, but since many of you are also from Waukesha, let me report a few things.

This is my third time attending WSB. It meets the second Wednesday evening of the month from 7:00PM until about 9:00. Mary Duerson and I are always there now.

Six Inches of Snow

I grew up outside Ludington Michigan. My parents owned property bounded by a creek, the river it emptied into, the rim of a woods, and a dirt road.  It was a beautiful and I would rather have my memories of that lovely place than almost other inheritance else I can think of.  A kid who knows what water sounds like as it babbles over her chilly barefoot feet, the power of storms in tall trees, the way it feels to make channels and rivers in a muddy driveway in the spring, waking up to a world embroidered with snow. She’s a lucky kid who becomes a lucky adult.

Have you ever ... 1/31/2020

Have you ever concentrated so hard at your laptop that when you finished your project and got up, you took your computer glasses off, set them on the desk, picked up your regular glasses and carried them out of the office wondering why you couldn’t see?

Have you ever stood in front of the mounds of zucchinis in the grocery store in August, stabbed through the heart because you used to make zucchini-egg patties for your kid at the end of each summer but that kid is now 35 and living in another state and you don’t even have a word for how you feel?

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