Saturday, June 06, 2009

One of the first poets I ever read was Walt Mason; he was a popular American poet in the 19th century. Here is what George Ade said about him – “Mason is the high priest of horse sense.” He is the sweet singer of our American Israel. Because he says a thing in his own way, he says it the way the average American would say it, if he could only say it that way. Any one of us may have the thought but to him is given the gift of expression. He whangs a home-made harp and because it is home-made,-- because it voices the true homely, plain, honest-to-God sentiments of the real people in a homely fashion, because it rings with a sweetness, a sanity and a wit that belongs to that old low-combed, red-necked Kansas rooster, in a greater degree than to any other being known to me as a resident upon this planet at the present moment – we love the Harpist and we love the Tune.”

Here is a couple of samples of his poems --

When I have slipped my tether, and left this vale of tears, to see what sort of weather they have in other spheres, I want no costly casket with silver trappings bound; just put me in a basket and chuck me underground. Death would be far more jolly and pleasant every way, but for the idle folly of making big display. It takes a roll unending to make a graveyard spread, and all the fuss and spending don't help the man who's dead. 'Twere best to keep the stivers safe hidden in a tub, to comfort the survivors and buy them duds and grub. I know that it would grind me when on the other shore, if those I left behind me had wolves before the door; if I looked down and found them, immersed in tears and woe, with creditors around them all howling for the dough. So when I up and trundle down to the sunless sea, let no one blow a bundle to pay for planting me. I'll slumber just as sweetly in some old basswood box, as though trussed up completely with silver screws and locks."

Saturday Night, and the week’s work done, and the Old Man home with a bunch of mon!
You see him sit on the cottage porch, and he puffs away at a five-cent torch, while the good wife sings at her evening chores, and the children gambol around outdoors. The Old Man sits on his work-day hat, and he doesn’t envy the plutocrat; his debts are paid and he owns his place, and he’ll look a king in the blooming face; his hands are hard with the brick and loam, but his heart is soft with the love of home! Saturday night, and it’s time for bed! And the kids come in with a buoyant tread; and they hush their noise at the mother’s look, as she slowly opens a heavy book, and reads the tale of the stormy sea, and the voice that quieted Galilee. Then away to bed and the calm repose that only honesty ever knows. Saturday night, and the world is still, and it’s only the erring who finds things ill; there is sweet content and a sweeter rest, where a good heart beats in a brave man’s breast.”


Trudy said...

Wow, I love his work and will have to check out more. The meter and rhyme are incredible! That second one just cruised along!

Thanks for sharing.

Mel said...

Great poems, Fred! I've never heard of this poet before, but now that I have I'm anxious to read more, and to share these poems with people I know. Starting with my mom and dad, whom I think will both be particularly blessed by his style and the easy flow and understandability of his words.

We can always count on you to introduce us to worthwhile and valuable authors and writings, Fred. Thank you!

Many Blessings,

Danielle&Hannah said...

Hey Fred,

You must read very widely! And very often!

I am bogged down with textbooks atm. It was nice to have a head-stretch and read your post.


Danielle :)

FCB said...

Hi Trudy,
I'm glad you liked the poem, he is not very sophisticated, but neither am I so I'm sure that's why I'm drawn to his homely style.
I doubt he ever went past eighth grade but he had a quick wit and good insight to my way of thinking.
God bless,

Hi Mel,
It is nice to read a poem that I can actually understand without stretching my neck to the highest shelf. I enjoy trying to unravel poems in small doses, but these kind I read just for fun and the home town common sense.
God bless,

Hi Danielle,
You make me blush, you have to remember I am 62 years old and this particular poet for example, I haven't read in 10 years, but he's in my libray and I picked it up to see if I had made any notes about a particular poem. Whenever I read I always put the page number in the back flap when a piece appeales to me. So when I picked up this book there were about 5 poems in the entire book that I thought had broad appeal and spoke to me. I don't read for long periods but I read a little everyday. I read health books when I eat, I keep a book in the restroom at work and at home. I read a little each morning, rarely at night, too busy reading blogs. Just lots of years!
Glad to see you drop by, haven't heard from you for a while, but I understand now you are studying.
God bless and good luck in school,

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred:)

Great selection of poems. I enjoyed the second one more. I wish I could be in the old man's shoes. It will be a great delight and satisfaction. The poem paints a beautiful picture.

Many thanks for sharing these lovely poems.

Have a wonderful day Fred:)