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Charlotte Bleh’s Collection of Favourite  Nursery  Rhymes, Poems and Prose Book
America


 

  Times and Rhymes for My America

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet the words repeat,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll’d along th’ unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bow’d my head:
“There is no peace of earth,” I said.
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
”God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till ringing, singing on  its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Henry W. Longfellow

(This is my most favourite Christmas Carol because of the
poet’s philosophy and its history of being written at the time
of the American Civil War.)

***

I wish I was a little egg,
Way up in a tree,
A-sittin’ in my little nest,
As rotten as could be.
I wish that you would come along
And stand beneath that tree;
Then I would up and bust myself
And cover thee with me!

***

Once upon a time
I longed to be
An artist of celebrity.
A song I thought to write one day
And all the world would homage pay. 

I longed to write a noted book,
But what I did was learn to cook –
Now when I see your hungry eyes,
I’m glad I make good apple pies.

***

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of the mechanics, each singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck hand singing on the steam boat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands.
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or the young wife at work, or the girl sewing or washing,
Each sings what belongs to him or her and to non else,
The day what belongs to the day – at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Walt Whitman

***

To reach the States needs ships or planes –
It really is quite clear!
And then I found that I was wrong,
For America is here!

‘Midst Scottish hills you’ll find the spot
Where we have staked our claim.
This land isn’t strange or lonesome at all –
You’ll find it just like “hame.”

There is in haggis-huntin’ land
A snipe or two to shoot,
Visit the Exchange, and there you’ll find
You’ve pumpkin pie to boot!

The grass seems greener over the hill,
This proverb’s all too true.
Montrose is near, and soon you’ll find
There’s lots you want to do.

You’ll tour the land to see the sights
(And also the “stomp” or “Pit.”)
Before you know you’ll speak with a “brogue” –
And a kilt’s your proudest outfit.

Unc’ Sam then says your tour is done –
It’s back to civilization.
And then you’ll find that what you need
Is rehabilitation!

(This is a little ditty I wrote soon after I met John and began my “Americanization”
as Daddy and I started running back and forth between Dundee and where  he was based at RAF Edzell. The “Stomp” and “Pit” were the nicknames the fellows gave the dance halls in Montrose:
The Stomp is fairly obvious, but the “Pit” was an abbreviation for “Armpit” because, John told me, it smelled so bad!)

***

I am an American.
My father belongs to the sons of the Revolution,
My mother, to the Colonial Dames.
One of my ancestors pitched tea
overboard in Boston harbor,
Another stood his ground with Warren.
Another hungered with Washington at Valley Forge.
My forefathers were America in the making.
They spoke in her council halls;
They died on her battle-fields;
They commanded her ships;
They cleared her forests.
Dawns reddened and paled.
Staunch hearts of mine beat fast at
each new star In the nation’s flag.
Keen eyes of mine foresaw her greater glory.
The sweep of her seas.
The plenty of her plains.
The man-hives in her billion-wired cities.
Every drop of blood in me holds a
heritage of patriotism.
I am proud of my past.
I am an American.
I am an American.
My father was an atom of dust,
My mother a straw in the wind,
To his Serene Majesty.
One of my ancestors died in the mines of Siberia.
Another was crippled for life by
twenty blows of the knout;
Another was killed defending his
home during the massacres.
The history of my ancestors is a trail of blood
To the palace-gate of the Great White Czar.
But then the dream came –
The dream of America.
In the light of the Liberty torch.
The atom of dust became a man.
And the straw in the wind became a woman
For the first time;
“See,” said my father, pointing to the
flag that fluttered near,
“That flag of stars and stripes is yours;
It is the emblem of the promised land.
It means, my son, the hope of humanity.
Live for it, … Die for it!”
Under the open sky of my new country I swore to do so;
And every drop of blood in me will keep that vow.
I am proud of my future.
I am an American.


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