The blues will never die. The peformers have passed on, the core audience passed on, it is all chamber music now played by people who learned it as chamber music. If it is not dead, it is on do not resucitate life support. It is a cliche, a genre, a repertory.
Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circapoetry became my passion. Johnson has understood that through their spiritual singing to the Divine, these slaves were striving to unite their souls with God.
O Black and Unknown Bards O black and unknown bards of long ago, How came your lips to touch the sacred fire? Who first from midst his bonds lifted his eyes?
Who first from out the still watch, lone and long, Feeling the ancient faith of prophets rise Within his dark-kept soul, burst into song? Heart of what slave poured out such melody As "Steal away to Jesus"?
On its strains His spirit must have nightly floated free, Though still about his hands he felt his chains. Who heard great "Jordan roll"? Whose starward eye Saw chariot "swing low"?
And who was he That breathed that comforting, melodic sigh, "Nobody knows de trouble I see"? What merely living clod, what captive thing, Could up toward God through all its darkness grope, And find within its deadened heart to sing These songs of sorrow, love and faith, and hope?
How did it catch that subtle undertone, That note in music heard not with the ears? How sound the elusive reed so seldom blown, Which stirs the soul or melts the heart to tears.
Not that great German master in his dream Of harmonies that thundered amongst the stars At the creation, ever heard a theme Nobler than "Go down, Moses. Such are the notes that men have sung Going to valorous deeds; such tones there were That helped make history when Time was young.
There is a wide, wide wonder in it all, That from degraded rest and servile toil The fiery spirit of the seer should call These simple children of the sun and soil.
You sang not deeds of heroes or of kings; No chant of bloody war, no exulting pean Of arms-won triumphs; but your humble strings You touched in chord with music empyrean. You sang a race from wood and stone to Christ. The Genius of Slaves O black and unknown bards of long ago, How came your lips to touch the sacred fire?
The speaker wonders how black slaves had the ability to fashion those beautiful, soulfilled songs. These songs have revealed that these musicians were in tune with a heavenly realm, not of this earth.
The body may be whipped and suffer, but the soul cannot be beaten, nor can it suffer.
The uplifting nature of these wonderful soulful hymns demonstrates the power of the spirit over the body. The speaker then queries, "Who first from midst the bonds lifted his eye?
The speaker is aware that the beautiful songs unveil a spiritual level of being that can only be cherished and treasured for their qualities.
The speaker understands that instead of self-pity and angst, these soul singers were looking to God with a faith that might seem to lost. In the second stanza, the speaker refers to four widely sung spiritual: The speaker then guesses that whoever the composer was, "His spirit must have nightly floated free.
The speaker then alludes to the well-known spiritual, "Nobody knows de trouble I see," as he asserts that the composer of this hymn felt the comforting, melodic sigh deep in his eing.
The speaker, through his musing and questioning, is celebrating the wonderfully inspirational tone of these famous hymns. The Mystery of Moving in Chains What merely living clod, what captive thing, Could up toward God through all its darkness grope, And find within its deadened heart to sing These songs of sorrow, love and faith, and hope?
The divinity of the words cannot be missed by the perceptive observer as James Weldon Johnson was. The speaker wonders how these sufferers with likely "deadened hearts," managed to produce songs heard "not with the ears. He states that the music of these marvelous spirituals helped write history.
The Fiery Spirit of Servitude There is a wide, wide wonder in it all, That from degraded rest and servile toil The fiery spirit of the seer should call These simple children of the sun and soil.
The speaker again stresses the strange fact that those so depressed with the servitude of toil were able to display their fiery spirit, these simple children, these black slaves, who are gone, forgotten, unknown, yet they were capable of "stretch[ing ] out upward, seeking the divine.Style Analysis of Johnson's O Black and Unknown Bards: Style Analysis of Johnson's Brothers Monstrosity, Divinity and Equality in Four Essays on the Design of Old English Poetry, Yale University Press, , pp.
Gale Literature Resource Center. TSU Library. Feb 03, · Johnson's Bards & Voices I had never heard of James Weldon Johnson before reading these poems, but I am already a big fan of his. Through his two poems O Black and Unknown Bards and Lift Every Voice and Sing, Johnson expresses his thoughts on the African American history in the form of beautifully phrased songs.
A Description of THE WESTERN ISLANDS Of Scotland (CIRCA ) By. Martin Martin, Gent Including A Voyage to St. Kilda By the same author. and. A Description Of THE WESTERN ISLES Of Scotland By Sir Donald Monro. O black and unknown bards of long ago, How came your lips to touch the sacred fire?
How, in your darkness, did you come to know The power and beauty of the minstrel’s lyre? The medieval word for a Poet was a Maker, which indeed is the original meaning of a Poet. It is one of the points, more numerous than some suppose, in which Greek and medieval simplicity nearly touch.
The Poetry of Black America: Anthology of the 20th Century [Arnold Adoff, Gwendolyn Brooks] on schwenkreis.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Works by modern Afro-American poets express their anger, despair, and hopes, and sense of pride for their race.