“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech.” - Simonides of Ceos

Saturday, April 8, 2017

"The Village Blacksmith" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



First published in 1840, "The Village Blacksmith" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a wonderful example of a short, narrative poem. It not only tells the reader a story, but it is one which many can relate to since it is really a story of the "everyman". After its initial publication in a periodical, "The Village Blacksmith" was then included in a volume of Longfellow's works entitled Ballads and Other Poems, published in 1841, which included other now well-known poems such as, "The Wreck of the Hesperus" and "Excelsior".

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: Jeffrey K. Holbrook
Composer: Andrew Boone
Sound Design & Mixing: Christopher Green
Photography: Lubos Houska
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Special thanks to the Primitive Baptist Sermon Library for the "Amazing Grace" audio and to Jeremy Sarber for helping us track it down.

Entry on Wikipedia for "The Village Blacksmith"
Entry on Wikipedia for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Longfellow's Bio on The Poetry Foundation
HWLongfellow.org - A site maintained by the Maine Historical Society
Indepth Analysis of "The Village Blacksmith" from enotes
Lessons Learned From "The Village Blacksmith" - Blog post from The Art of Manliness

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Image credit: Wikimedia


"The Village Blacksmith" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Under a spreading chestnut tree
  The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
  With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
  Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
  His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
  He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
  For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
  You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge
  With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
  When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
  Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
  And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
  Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
  And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
  He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
  And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
  Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
  How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
  A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling,—rejoicing,—sorrowing,
  Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
  Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
  Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
  For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
  Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
  Each burning deed and thought!

Longfellow Village Blacksmith (manuscript 1).jpg
Original Manuscript of the Poem
Public Domain, Link

This production is dedicated to Floyde Holbrook, 1934 - 2017.
"Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work..." Isaiah 54:16 KJV

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Florence Nightingale" by Emma Lazarus



Emma Lazarus was an American poet who was writing during the late 1800s. She is most known for her sonnet in honor of The Statue of Liberty, "The New Colossus". Her poem, "Florence Nightingale", was written on March 7, 1867 and was first published in 1871. There are conflicting opinions about the accuracy of this poem's portrayal of the woman known as "The Mother of Modern Nursing" and "The Lady with the Lamp", but regardless, it is a wonderful piece which honors Nightingale's contributions to the field of medicine.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: Nicole Rodrigues
Composer: Andrew Boone
Sound Design & Mixing: Christopher Green
Image for Artwork: Henrietta Rae
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for Emma Lazarus
Bio of Emma Lazarus on The Poetry Foundation
Entry on Wikipedia for Florence Nightingale
Full Text of "Admetus and other poems" by Emma Lazarus courtesy of The American Verse Project

Emma Lazarus circa December 1871
Image Credit: Wikipedia

"Florence Nightingale" by Emma Lazarus

UPON the whitewashed walls
A woman's shadow falls,
A woman walketh o'er the darksome floors.
A soft, angelic smile
Lighteth her face the while,
In passing through the dismal corridors.

And now and then there slips
A word from out her lips,
More sweet and grateful to those listening ears
Than the most plaintive tale
Of the sad nightingale,
Whose name and tenderness this woman bears.

Her presence in the room
Of agony and gloom,
No fretful murmurs, no coarse words profane;
For while she standeth there,
All words are hushed save prayer;
She seems God's angel weeping o'er man's pain.

And some of them arise,
With eager, tearful eyes,
From off their couch to see her passing by.
Some, e'en too weak for this,
Can only stoop and kiss
Her shadow, and fall back content to die.

No monument of stone
Needs this heroic one,—
Her name is graven on each noble heart;
And in all after years
Her praise will be the tears
Which at that name from quivering lids will start.

And those who live not now,
To see the sainted brow,
And the angelic smile before it flits for aye,
They in the future age
Will kiss the storied page
Whereon the shadow of her life will lie.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"The Best Thing in the World" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning



English poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born in 1806 and is believed to have written her first poem at the young age of 6. Unlike many classic poets, Barrett Browning was quite well respected and her works were well received during her lifetime. Among the admirers of her work were Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe; the latter even dedicated a volume of his poems to her in 1845. Perhaps most known for her sonnets and especially the very famous piece, "How Do I Love Thee?", Barrett Browning was a very prolific poet. "The Best Thing in the World" was included in the volume entitled The Complete Poetical Works of Mrs. Browning and was published as a short, 12-line piece of verse. Although there are many sources online which have a version which omits two lines, we have chosen to produce the full poem.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: Victoria Lynn
Composer: Brandon Boone
Sound Design & Mixing: Andrew Riffenburgh
Photography: skeeze
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Bio of Elizabeth Barrett Browning at the Poetry Foundation
Concise Analysis of "The Best Thing in the World"
In-depth Analysis of "The Best Thing in the World"

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Image source: Wikipedia

"The Best Thing in the World" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

What's the best thing in the world?
June-rose, by May-dew impearled;
Sweet south-wind, that means no rain;
Truth, not cruel to a friend;
Pleasure, not in haste to end;
Beauty, not self-decked and curled
Till its pride is over-plain;
Light, that never makes you wink;
Memory, that gives no pain;
Love, when, so, you're loved again.
What's the best thing in the world?
— Something out of it, I think.