Daily Whitman


The Ox-Tamer

  In a far-away northern county in the placid pastoral region,
  Lives my farmer friend, the theme of my recitative, a famous tamer of oxen,
  There they bring him the three-year-olds and the four-year-olds to
      break them,
  He will take the wildest steer in the world and break him and tame him,
  He will go fearless without any whip where the young bullock
      chafes up and down the yard,
  The bullock's head tosses restless high in the air with raging eyes,
  Yet see you! how soon his rage subsides—how soon this tamer tames him;
  See you! on the farms hereabout a hundred oxen young and old,
      and he is the man who has tamed them,
  They all know him, all are affectionate to him;
  See you! some are such beautiful animals, so lofty looking;
  Some are buff-color'd, some mottled, one has a white line running
      along his back, some are brindled,
  Some have wide flaring horns (a good sign)—see you! the bright hides,
  See, the two with stars on their foreheads—see, the round bodies
      and broad backs,
  How straight and square they stand on their legs—what fine sagacious eyes!
  How straight they watch their tamer—they wish him near them—how
      they turn to look after him!
  What yearning expression! how uneasy they are when he moves away from them;
  Now I marvel what it can be he appears to them, (books, politics,
      poems, depart—all else departs,)
  I confess I envy only his fascination—my silent, illiterate friend,
  Whom a hundred oxen love there in his life on farms,
  In the northern county far, in the placid pastoral region.
An Old Man's Thought of School
  [For the Inauguration of a Public School, Camden, New Jersey, 1874]

  An old man's thought of school,
  An old man gathering youthful memories and blooms that youth itself cannot.

  Now only do I know you,
  O fair auroral skies—O morning dew upon the grass!

  And these I see, these sparkling eyes,
  These stores of mystic meaning, these young lives,
  Building, equipping like a fleet of ships, immortal ships,
  Soon to sail out over the measureless seas,
  On the soul's voyage.

  Only a lot of boys and girls?
  Only the tiresome spelling, writing, ciphering classes?
  Only a public school?

  Ah more, infinitely more;
  (As George Fox rais'd his warning cry, "Is it this pile of brick and
      mortar, these dead floors, windows, rails, you call the church?
  Why this is not the church at all—the church is living, ever living

  And you America,
  Cast you the real reckoning for your present?
  The lights and shadows of your future, good or evil?
  To girlhood, boyhood look, the teacher and the school.


Posted on 08/05/2015, in literature, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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