We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
You shall hear how Hiawatha Prayed and fasted in the forest, Not for greater skill in hunting, Not for greater craft in fishing, Not for triumphs in the battle, And renown among the warriors, But for profit of the people, For advantage of the nations.
First he built a lodge for fasting, Built a wigwam in the forest, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, In the blithe and pleasant Spring-time, In the Moon of Leaves he built it, And, with dreams and visions many, Seven whole days and nights he fasted.
On the first day of his fasting Through the leafy woods he wandered; Saw the deer start from the thicket, Saw the rabbit in his burrow, Heard the pheasant, Bena, drumming,
Heard the squirrel, Adjidaumo, Rattling in his hoard of acorns, Saw the pigeon, the Omeme, Building nests among the pinetrees, And in flocks the wild-goose, Wawa, Flying to the fen-lands northward, Whirring, wailing far above him. "Master of Life!" he cried, desponding, "Must our lives depend on these things?"
On the next day of his fasting By the river's brink he wandered, Through the Muskoday, the meadow, Saw the wild rice, Mahnomonee, Saw the blueberry, Meenahga, And the strawberry, Odahmin, And the gooseberry, Shahbomin, And the grape.vine, the Bemahgut, Trailing o'er the alder-branches, Filling all the air with fragrance! "Master of Life!" he cried, desponding, "Must our lives depend on these things?"
The entire poem, a collection of Algonquin Indian myths, here, with a little commentary. Read it outloud to your kids or spouse. They will never forget it.
Photo is Augustus Saint-Gaudens' (1848-1907) Hiawatha, marble, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
(here, talking about the great peace pipe, about the smoke when the great spirit sparks it up)
(this stanza could bear a legend: rolling off the rolling outward smoke a reader might for a moment feel the vivid presence of a long-lost child, a year or two either side of nine, reading alongside. Of course, it is you, time out of mind for the flash look. Where what why who --is it the great spirit and the medicine smoke? Hey ya. hey ya. Hey ya ya ya ya HEY!))
And the smoke rose slowly, slowly,
Through the tranquil air of morning,
First a single line of darkness,
Then a denser, bluer vapor,
Then a snow-white cloud unfolding,
Like the tree-tops of the forest,
Ever rising, rising, rising,
Till it touched the top of heaven,
Till it broke against the heaven,
And rolled outward all around it.
My high school English teacher, Don Hasenfus, had us beat out the underlying tom-tom rhythm as we read the poem aloud. He was very big on poetry, and we read and memorized a lot of it. That was the Boston public schools in the late fifties. Lots of Longfellow, a local hero.
I think Varley has a poem with a similar strong beat, but I don't remember it.
Three cheers for the Don Hasenfuses of the world, who demonstrated the idea that their careers (not to mention the bricks and mortar of the classroom itself) were the supply to the demand of learning, and not the demand to the supply of teaching.