Gene wrote this poem while attending Peabody High.
Some streets wind crookedly between long rows
Of dingy, dirty houses
That frown down upon them with their lank, long faces.
Some streets flow gracefully along, bordered by stately trees
And calm, palatial mansions
That smile at them in silent, tranquil peace.
One street I know climbs roughly up a rugged hill,
Surmounting many huge, impeding boulders
Until it gains the top;
And then slopes gently down the other side.
Finally merging into the cool mist
Of a blossomed, green-turfed valley
A man I know is like that street,
Who having climbed the rough and rugged hill and reached the summit,
Now steps upon the springy, carpet-grass and steadily makes his way down into the valley;
There to pause, a-wearied of his tiresome, toilsome trek,
And lying down upon the moist loam, allow the cool, damp mist to cover him
And he will sleep.
This is an Irish poem which is so apposite it could almost have been written about Gene.
What Shall I Say About the Irish?
The utterly impractical, never predictable,
Sometimes irascible, quite inexplicable, Irish.
Strange blend of shyness,
pride and conceit,
And stubborn refusal to bow in defeat.
He's spoiling and ready to argue and fight,
Yet the smile of a child
fills his soul with delight.
His eyes are the quickest to well up with tears,
Yet his strength is the strongest
to banish your fears.
His hate is as fierce as his devotion is grand,
And there is no middle ground
on which he will stand.
He's wild and he's gentle,
he's good and he's bad.
He's proud and he's humble,
he's happy and sad.
He's in love with the ocean,
the earth and the skies,
He's enamoured with beauty wherever it lies.
He's victor and victim, a star and a clod,
But mostly he's Irish—
in love with his God.
Be they kings, or poets, or farmers,
They're a people of great worth,
They keep company with the angels,
And bring a bit of heaven here to earth
A friend sent me this poem. She thinks that it is about Gene. I agree. Thanks Vicki.
To laugh often and love much
To win the respect of intelligent persons
And the affection of children
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends
To appreciate beauty
To find the best in others
To give one’s self
To leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
and sung with exultation
To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived
This is to have succeeded
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spring is when the grass turns green and glad
Spring is when the new grass comes up and says hey, hey, hey, hey.
Be dizzy now and turn your head upside down and see how the world looks upside down
Be dizzy now and turn a cartwheel and see the good earth through a cartwheel.
Tell your feet the alphabet
Tell your feet the multiplication table
Tell your feet where to go, and watch ‘em go and come back
Can you dance a question mark?
Can you dance an exclamation mark?
Can you dance a couple of commas?
And bring it to a finish with a period?
Can you dance like the wind is pushing you?
Can you dance like you are pushing the wind?
Can you dance like slow wooden heels??
And then change to bright and singing silver heels.
Such nice feet, such good feet.
So lazy as grass grows and rivers run
Silver lakes like blue porcelain plates
And snakes of winding rivers
You can see ‘em on a map.
Why we got geography?
Because we go from place to place, because the earth used to be flat and had four corners, and you could jump off from any of the corners.
But now the earth is not flat any more.
Now it is round all over. Now it is a globe, a ball, round all over, and we would all fall off it and tumble away into space if it wasn’t for the magnetic Poles. And when you dance it is the North Pole or the South Pole pulling on your feet like magnets to keep your feet on the earth.
And that’s why we got geography.
And it’s nice to have it that way.
Why does duh Mississippi River wind and wind?
Why, dat’s easy. She wind so she git where she wanna go.
Mississippi, Rappahannock, Punxatawney.
Spell out their names with your heels.
Where duh towns uh Punkatawney and Mauk Chunk?
Why, yeanh day’s bof in Pennsylvan-ee-eye-ay.
And dat’s why we git geography.
Left foot, tweedle-dum – right foot tweedle-dee, here they go.
When Yankee Doodle came to town, wat wuz he a ridin’ on?
A buffalo? A elephant? A horse?
No, no, no, no. A Pony it wuz, a Pony. That’s right.
Giddi-ap, Giddi-ap, Giddi-ap.
His chosen comrades thought at school He must grow a famous man; He thought the same and lived by rule, All his twenties crammed with toil; `What then?' sang Plato's ghost. `What then?' Everything he wrote was read, After certain years he won Sufficient money for his need, Friends that have been friends indeed; `What then?' sang Plato's ghost. `What then?' All his happier dreams came true - A small old house, wife, daughter, son, Grounds where plum and cabbage grew, Poets and Wits about him drew; `What then?' sang Plato's ghost. `What then?' `The work is done,' grown old he thought, `According to my boyish plan; Let the fools rage, I swerved in naught, Something to perfection brought'; But louder sang that ghost, `What then?'
This is a poem which he read to Betsy, his first wife,
relating the last two lines of the second stanza directly to her.
When you are old and grey and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true, But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face; And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
This is the last stanza of Among School Children
Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul.
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
This is a link to the complete poem.
Far-off, most secret, and inviolate Rose, Enfold me in my hour of hours; where those Who sought thee in the Holy Sepulchre, Or in the wine-vat, dwell beyond the stir And tumult of defeated dreams; and deep Among pale eyelids, heavy with the sleep Men have named beauty. Thy great leaves enfold The ancient beards, the helms of ruby and gold Of the crowned Magi; and the king whose eyes Saw the Pierced Hands and Rood of elder rise In Druid vapour and make the torches dim; Till vain frenzy woke and he died; and him Who met Fand walking among flaming dew By a grey shore where the wind never blew, And lost the world and Emer for a kiss; And him who drove the gods out of their liss, And till a hundred morns had flowered red Feasted, and wept the barrows of his dead; And the proud dreaming king who flung the crown And sorrow away, and calling bard and clown Dwelt among wine-stained wanderers in deep woods; And him who sold tillage, and house, and goods, And sought through lands and islands numberless years, Until he found, with laughter and with tears, A woman of so shining loveliness That men threshed corn at midnight by a tress, A little stolen tress. I, too, await The hour of thy great wind of love and hate. When shall the stars be blown about the sky, Like the sparks blown out of a smithy, and die? Surely thine hour has come, thy great wind blows, Far-off, most secret, and inviolate Rose?
The following is a passage taken from a beautiful book
which Gene once said he loved, and often 'dipped into' -
"Simply because it delights me - and in this troubled world
gives me surcease and balm for my woes.”
Crock Of Gold, by James Stephens.
Does this somehow sound familiar?
"Two people, the girl, and a young, slender man,
were coming slowly up to the house.
The rain was falling heavily, but they did not seem to mind it.
There was a big puddle of water close to the kerb, and the girl,
stepping daintily as a cat, went round this,
but the young man stood for a moment beyond it.
He raised both arms, clenched his fists,
swung them, and jumped over the puddle.
Then he and the girl stood looking at the water,
apparently measuring the jump.
I could see them plainly by a street lamp.
They were bidding each other goodbye.
The girl put her hand to his neck and settled the collar of his coat,
and while her hand rested on him the young man
suddenly and violently flung his arms about her and hugged her;
then they kissed and moved apart.
The man walked to the rain puddle and stood there
with his face turned back laughing at her,
and then he jumped straight into the middle of the puddle
and began to dance up and down in it,
the muddy water splashing up to his knees. "