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Poetry: Words Unleashed Colonial Period – 1920’s.

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1 Poetry: Words Unleashed Colonial Period – 1920’s

2 Preface Words have a great deal of power and, depending on how they are used, can create feelings of joy, anger, loss, and wonder. Though each of the poems in this selection is different, they all share a common thread, that of the American poet celebrating her ability to speak out about the things that move her. Wheatley, even as a slave, speaks of a land that was worth coming to. MacLeish and Crane, even in their despondency speak of a country shaped by the blood of the fallen. In part the poems represents the voice of their time and the fierce struggles that have defined and shaped a country and her people. In total the poems represent the shared pride and heartache of a nation that has been touched by both greatness and sorrow. Each poem represents the individual struggle of the poet and the variations on the American dream.

3 The Colonial Period On Being Brought From Africa to America -Phylis Wheatley "Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land, Taught my benighted soul to understand That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too: Once I redemption neither sought nor knew. Some view our sable race with scornful eye, "Their colour is a diabolic die." Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain, May be refin'd and join th'angelic train.

4 The Civil War O Captain! My Captain! -by Walt Whitman O Captain ! my Captain ! our fearful trip is done, The ship was weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart ! heart ! heart ! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain ! my Captain ! Rise up and hear the bells; Rise up -- For you the flag is flung -- For you the bugle trills, For the bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths -- For you the shores a- crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain ! Dear Father ! This Arm beneath your head ! It is some dream that on the deck, You've fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, His lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, it voyage closed and done, From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells ! But I with mournful tread, walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.

5 The Civil War General Dabney H. Maury -by Rosewell Page He sleeps, "the little general" sleeps, With all the great before him; Another son Virginia weeps, Proud that 'twas she who bore him. Away from home, far, far away, He crossed life's utmost barrier; Subdued, but still without dismay He comes, our gentle warrior. He fell not, 'twas his cause that fell, Upon the field of glory. He lived, that living he might tell His country's gallant story. With heroes he was wont to share The trial and the peril; With them to do, with them to dare, With them shall be his burial. He rests, the tired soldier rests, Upon the field of battle, Recalling deeds of dauntless breasts And scenes of boyish prattle. He sleeps, "the little General" sleeps, With all the great before him; Virginia now her vigil keeps, Proud that 'twas she who bore him.

6 World War 1 The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak - by Archibald MacLeish The young dead soldiers do not speak. Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses: who has not heard them? They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts. They say: We were young. We have died. Remember us. They say: We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done. They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave. They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours, they will mean what you make them. They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say, it is you who must say this. We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning. We were young, they say. We have died; remember us.

7 Civil War/World War 1 War is Kind -Stephen Crane Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind. Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky And the affrighted steed ran on alone, Do not weep. War is kind. Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment, Little souls who thirst for fight, These men were born to drill and die. The unexplained glory flies above them, Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom -- A field where a thousand corpses lie. Do not weep, babe, for war is kind. Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches, Raged at his breast, gulped and died, Do not weep. War is kind. Swift blazing flag of the regiment, Eagle with crest of red and gold, These men were born to drill and die. Point for them the virtue of slaughter, Make plain to them the excellence of killing And a field where a thousand corpses lie. Mother whose heart hung humble as a button On the bright splendid shroud of your son, Do not weep. War is kind.

8 The Fireside Poets Afternoon in February -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow The day is ending, The night is descending; The marsh is frozen, The river dead. Through clouds like ashes The red sun flashes On village windows That glimmer red. The snow recommences; The buried fences Mark no longer The road o'er the plain; While through the meadows, Like fearful shadows, Slowly passes A funeral train. The bell is pealing, And every feeling Within me responds To the dismal knell; Shadows are trailing, My heart is bewailing And tolling within Like a funeral bell.

9 The Fireside Poets What the Birds Said -John Greenleaf Whittier The birds against the April wind Flew northward, singing as they flew; They sang, “The land we leave behind Has swords for corn-blades, blood for dew.” “O wild-birds, flying from the South, What saw and heard ye, gazing down?” “We saw the mortar’s upturned mouth, The sickened camp, the blazing town! “Beneath the bivouac’s starry lamps, We saw your march-worn children die; In shrouds of moss, in cypress swamps, We saw your dead uncoffined lie. “We heard the starving prisoner’s sighs And saw, from line and trench, your sons Follow our flight with home-sick eyes Beyond the battery’s smoking guns.” “And heard and saw ye only wrong And pain,” I cried, “O wing-worn flocks?” “We heard,” they sang, “the freedman’s song, The crash of Slavery’s broken locks! “We saw from new, uprising States The treason-nursing mischief spurned, As, crowding Freedom’s ample gates, The long-estranged and lost returned. “O’er dusky faces, seamed and old, And hands horn-hard with unpaid toil, With hope in every rustling fold, We saw your star-dropt flag uncoil. “And struggling up through sounds accursed, A grateful murmur clomb the air; A whisper scarcely heard at first, It filled the listening heavens with prayer. “And sweet and far, as from a star, Replied a voice which shall not cease, Till, drowning all the noise of war, It sings the blessed song of peace!” So to me, in a doubtful day Of chill and slowly greening spring, Low stooping from the cloudy gray, The wild-birds sang or seemed to sing. They vanished in the misty air, The song went with them in their flight; But lo! they left the sunset fair, And in the evening there was light.

10 The Lost Generation In Between - by Gertrude Stein IN between a place and candy is a narrow foot-path that shows more mounting than anything, so much really that a calling meaning a bolster measured a whole thing with that. A virgin a whole virgin is judged made and so between curves and outlines and real seasons and more out glasses and a perfectly unprecedented arrangement between old ladies and mild colds there is no satin wood shining.

11 Poets from 1900-1930 Botticelli's Madonna In The Louvre -Edith Wharton WHAT strange presentiment, O Mother, lies On thy waste brow and sadly-folded lips, Forefeeling the Light's terrible eclipse On Calvary, as if love made thee wise, And thou couldst read in those dear infant eyes The sorrow that beneath their smiling sleeps, And guess what bitter tears a mother weeps When the cross darkens her unclouded skies? Sad Lady, if some mother, passing thee, Should feel a throb of thy foreboding pain, And think--"My child at home clings so to me, With the same smile... and yet in vain, in vain, Since even this Jesus died on Calvary"-- Say to her then: "He also rose again."

12 Harlem Renaissance Dream Variations -Langston Hughes To fling my arms wide In some place of the sun, To whirl and to dance Till the white day is done. Then rest at cool evening Beneath a tall tree While night comes on gently, Dark like me- That is my dream! To fling my arms wide In the face of the sun, Dance! Whirl! Whirl! Till the quick day is done. Rest at pale evening... A tall, slim tree... Night coming tenderly Black like me.

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