Saturday, October 27, 2007

Today's poem by Sam Walter Foss

Moat Mountain, 1893 (in Jackson, New Hampshire) painted by Frank Henry Shapleigh

Information reproduced from the Web site White Mountain Art & Artists. Visit their Web site.


This painting seems to go along perfectly with the words to a poem which hung on the wall of my childhood home, and is still in my life today. The poetry may not be the kind taught in college, but it still gets the message across. This type of poem was very popular in older times, and was often memorized in those little one room schoolhouses. Foss was born in New Hampshire and was a journalist as well as a poet. He wrote the following in 1894 about his home town.

There is something woefully wrong in the moral nature of the man who is not loyal to his native town. Such a man would forget his own mother and neglect his own children. He is lacking in the essential sentiment that makes a man a man. In this age of easy movement comparatively few men continue to live, during their entire lives, in the places of their birth. But to a true man--no matter where he may wander-- the focal point of all the earth, the center of the universe to him, is the town where he was born. And so today we know that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, throughout the breadth of the land, from sea to sea, who look back with unspeakable love to these old hills and valleys of Candia. All their lives long the brooks have murmured in their ears, the orchards and cornfields have waved before their eyes, the homes and firesides have been shrines and temples in their thoughts, and the soil, to them, will be forever holy ground. For the soil that has upborne our baby footsteps and holds the forms of those we loved, is always sacred in our thoughts, though we may wander to the very ends of the world.

These famous lines are really only a stanza in a longer poem.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by.
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban:
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

3 comments:

  1. This is wonderful Nan! Thank you for sharing it. I must say it does sum up a feeling of nostalgia and love for my own hometown of Canton, Ohio. No matter how long I am here in Holland, I still refer to Ohio as home.

    If you go to my blog and click on the photo, it should enlarge and you can see all the titles very well. If not, let me know and I will send them to you.

    ~~ Heidi ~~

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nan
    Thank you for visiting my blog. My cats are a joy to me. They are great company. I am sure I will have more pictures of them in the future.
    Take care
    Teresa

    P.S. Your dogs look very comfortable!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a lovely painting and a lovely poem.

    Thak you for your sweet comment in my blog. It is always a pleasure to see new names in the comments section. And it is a joy to find lovely new blogs, like yours.

    ReplyDelete

Now that I am a grandmother, it seems that I am often late in replying to your most-appreciated comments. But I read them as soon as they come in, and I will write as soon as I can. Please do come back and check. I love these blogging conversations. A little addendum - I've just spent quite a long time catching up with dear notes you left me months ago!! I do hope you can get back to read them. And I'm trying to be much more prompt now!

Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.