• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Notable Quotables

    "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
    William Morris, from his lecture "The Beauty of Life"

    "‘Never look at an ugly thing twice. It is fatally easy to get accustomed to corrupting influences."
    English architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941)

    "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
    Clarence Day

    "Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing."
    Cicero

    "Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."
    Sir Francis Bacon, "Essays"

    "The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning."
    Gilbert Highet, "The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning"

    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
    Walter Wriston

    "I'd like to give you a piece of my mind."
    "Oh, I couldn't take the last piece."
    Ginger Rogers to Frances Mercer in "Vivacious Lady" (1938)

    "No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."
    Booker T. Washington

    "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

    "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, we feel all our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
    Jean Hagen as "Lina Lamont" in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
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  • Copyright © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

Poetry Friday: Remembering Dr. King

who was assassinated 40 years ago today.

Lift Every Voice and Sing
by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)

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 hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast 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.

James Weldon Johnson wrote the poem in 1899, and his brother (John) Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) set the work to music in 1900. That year, the song was first performed in public to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, in Jacksonville, Florida, where James Weldon Johnson was principal. There’s a link to hear the song at this NPR page.

James Weldon Johnson wrote several volumes of poetry, most notably Fifty Years and Other Poems (1917; read a bit more here) and Saint Peter Relates an Incident (1935; read a bit more here), and compiled several others, including The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922; the preface of which is here). From Johnson’s preface,

I offer this collection without making apology or asking allowance. I feel confident that the reader will find not only an earnest for the future, but actual achievement. The reader cannot but be impressed by the distance already covered. It is a long way from the plaints of George Horton to the invectives of Claude McKay, from the obviousness of Frances Harper to the complexness of Anne Spencer. Much ground as been covered, but more will yet be covered. It is this side prophecy to declare that the undeniable creative genius the Negro is destined to make a distinctive and valuable attribution to American poetry.

A nice go-along to the latter compilation, for children, is I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry, selected by Catherine Clinton and illustrated by Stephen Alcorn.

For younger children, there are picture book versions of the the poem turned song turned anthem illustrated by Bryan Collier, published last year; by Elizabeth Catlett; and with black-and-white photographs.

Patricia McKissack and Fredrick McKissack have written a children’s biography, James Weldon Johnson: Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Adults and older children can read more about the poem here Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Celebration of the Negro National Anthem, edited by Julian Bond and Sondra Kathryn Wilson (2000).

And some poetry from Dr. King himself.

Today’s  Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by Becky’s Book Reviews.  Thank you, Becky.

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