I Don’t Hear America Singing Anymore, Walt
You heard American singing their varied carols -
The shoemakers, wood-cutters and ploughboys
And the mothers and young wives.
Their songs you heard were blithe and strong and delicious.
We are enslaved by credit card-sized communication and entertainment devices, receiving the information and digitized music we alone wish to hear.
But we don’t sing much. Why should we?
Not by fellow cubicle-dwellers,
Not by OSHA.
We’d be too self-conscious to sing, anyway, not possessing a pleasing, well-modulated voice that would bring praise from all blessed to be in its presence.
Singing is out the the question.
No squeaking porch swings,
No foot stools for the little ones,
No place or time for aunts and uncles and cousins and neighbors.
No place or time for the old stories and songs and hymns.
No place or time for guitars and mandolins and fiddles and autoharps served up with lemonade or sweetened ice tea or Uncle George’s home-made "special drink for the menfolk".
The parlor? That semi-sacred room where tiny feet dared tread only if accompanied by authorized and responsible adult kinfolk? That parlor with the well used, out of tune upright piano with a B-flat below middle C which sticks for everybody but Cousin Maude? Topped by the yellowed hand-made doily from the old country and faded sepia portraits of stern ancestors that only a few great aunts can identify? No, Walt - parlors are a thing of times long past.
breakfast nooks and formal dining rooms,
master bedrooms, walk-in closets and palatial indoor privies.
A place for conversation? Oh yes, we go to $tarbuck$ for that.
We don’t sing there either.
What about you, Walt Whitman?
What if you were living in these electronic times?
Would you be a poet?
Would you sing?
Or would you blog?
Sometimes I even wonder if Woody or Leadbelly would have bothered or felt the need to write songs.
Maybe I will blog about that. And perhaps I’ll hum a favorite old hymn tune while I do it...
but very, very softly.
"I Hear America Singing" is a short poem honoring 19th century laborers by Walt Whitman. Read this classic online at: http://www.bartleby.com/142/91.html
© frank thompson
© frank thompson