The third section of 'The Congo' is certainly as hopeful as any human being dare to be in regard to any race. In 1929, Vachel and his family returned to the old Springfield homestead, the house where the poet was born, the house that had once belonged to Abraham Lincoln's sister-in-law, the house where Vachel knew his hero, the Great Emancipator, had visited on numerous occasions. Lay emphasis on the delicate ideas. Their Irrepressible High Spirits Wild crap-shooters with a whoop and a call Danced the juba in their gambling-hall And laughed fit to kill, and shook the town, And guyed the policemen and laughed them down With a boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, Boom. The inlaid porches and casements shone With gold and ivory and elephant-bone. Blacks embody the primitive forces of sexuality and violence.
Never again will he hoo-doo you. Never again will he hoo-doo you. The original discs were made by William Cabell Greet of Columbia University--original recordings available above. The poem begins with a title: Their Basic Savagery. Be cold as the dew Would you win at the game With hearts like the stars, With hearts like the stars. In the end, the only way Vachel could support his family was to clamber back on trains and give poetry performances around the country: this when the only place he wanted to be was in Springfield with his wife and children.
Way down the road, trilling like a toad, Here comes the dice-horn, here comes the vice-horn, Here comes the snarl-horn, brawl-horn, lewd-horn, Followed by the prude-horn, bleak and squeaking: -- Some of them from Kansas, some of them from Kansas. My mail gets heavier every day and I can not yet afford a stenographer. A Study of the Negro Race I. In swiftness and poise, A proud child of the deer, A white fawn he was, Yet a fawn without fear. The proof can be found in their rhythms. How can we fail to be grateful for all this beauty? Further, by only doing the first section and making copies of the poem available, they begin to read poetry on their own.
A Negro fairyland swung into view, A minstrel river Where dreams come true. The popular appeal of the poem is based on us judgmental participation in primitivist behavior that entertains whites by arousing them with the rhythms to which they feel superior. To be read or sung in a heavy bass. Old John Brown, Old John Brown. A Negro fairyland swung into view, A minstrel river Where dreams come true. And the black crowd laughed till their sides were sore At the baboon butler in the agate door, And the well-known tunes of the parrot band That trilled on the bushes of that magic land.
Faster and faster Their pulses come, Though softer now The drum-beats fall. And they pranced with their butterfly partners there, Coal-black maidens with pearls in their hair, Knee-skirts trimmed with the jessamine sweet, And bells on their ankles and little black feet. Within two weeks they were married; and the next two years saw birth of a daughter, Susan Doniphan, and a son, Nicholas Cave. I did not attempt to sing any of them. A million boats of the angels sailed With oars of silver, and prows of blue And silken pennants that the sun shone through. Negro music follows the natural harmonic series, uncorrected by the diatonic scale. Near, nearer that war, And that ecstasy comes, We hear the trees beating Invisible drums.
Beat on the Bible till he wore it out Starting the jubilee revival shout. A rapidly piling climax of speed and racket. Aldon Nielsen, Reading Race: White American Poets and the Racial Discourse in the Twentieth Century, 30-32: Vachel Lindsay had the experience common to many white Americans of his era of hearing several sides of America's racial controversy expounded at home from his earliest years. The fields of the night Are starlit above, Our girls are white torches Of conquest and love. Pounding and singing, laughing and beating, preaching and prancing are the activities attributed within the poem to blacks but actually undertaken by the white performer. Instead, their savagery reasserts itself in a savage version of modern culture. The poem is thus as much a veiled justification for lynching as a criticism of it.
Weary of Chicago, Vachel moved on to William Chase's New York School of Art, where the primary instructor, Robert Henri, suggested to his student that he was more a poet than a painter. O ferns in the dusk! Beat on the Bible till he wore it out Starting the jubilee revival shout. The first section of this volume is especially an effort to restore poetry to its proper place -- the audience-chamber, and take it out of the library, the closet. They magically conveyed the voodoo power of Africa. Sweet dresses like snow Our small lady-loves wore, Like moonlight the thoughts That our bosoms upbore.
Keep as light-footed as possible. Their Basic Savagery Fat black bucks in a wine-barrel room, Barrel-house kings, with feet unstable, Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table, Pounded on the table, Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom, Hard as they were able, Boom, boom, Boom, With a silk umbrella and the handle of a broom, Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, Boom. Lindsay's poetry should cross the ocean, it would not be the first time that our most indigenous art has reacted upon the art of older nations. Lindsay studied medicine at 's from 1897 to 1900, but he did not want to be a doctor; his parents were pressuring him toward medicine. Eldred was a missionary of the Disciples of Christ who perished while swimming a treacherous branch of the Congo. Poetry, for the thousands of years of its cultivation, has largely, until relatively recently, been an oral art. The crooning turns to a sunrise singing.
In bright white steel they were seated round And their fire-eyes watched where the Congo wound. For a longer ladder Hear the fire-chief call. Told fair things to come, And our marvellous lot If now with fawn-steps Unshod we advanced To the midst of the grove And in reverence danced. Then along that riverbank A thousand miles Tattooed cannibals danced in files; Then I heard the boom of the blood-lust song And a thigh-bone beating on a tin-pan gong. Cabell Greet, a lexicologist and scholar of American dialects. It's also worth nothing that part 3 precedes parts 1 and 2 according to Columbia's record numbers. Then along that river, a thousand miles With growing deliberation and joy The vine-snared trees fell down in files.
From the mouth of the Congo To the Mountains of the Moon. Hear how the demons chuckle and yell. Keep as light-footed as possible. Many of Lindsay's poems echo the work of the English poet William Blake, in diction and theme, particularly the poems about children, poor people, and the immanence of divinity. Pioneer angels cleared the way For a Congo paradise, for babes at play, For sacred capitals, for temples clean.