Poetry Friday: I’ve got a feeling…

h1 November 7th, 2008 by eisha

Tuesday night, while history was being made, my husband was at work – Ithaca College was in final rehearsals for a show. Around the time he got out, he heard a lot of commotion and screaming from somewhere on campus. The next day a student told him what had happened: when Barack Obama was declared our President-elect, hundreds of students rushed outside and launched into a spontaneous rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” You can watch it here:

Call me a sap, but I just think that’s incredibly moving. So today’s poetry choice seems like an obvious one to me. Here’s another celebratory song, “I Hear America Singing,” from that rascally old patriot Walt Whitman.

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

This is my celebratory song. I’ve had it in my head for going on three days now. What’s yours?

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Happy Poetry Friday, America. Our dear friend Jone, a.k.a. Ms. Mac, is hosting over at Check it Out. Godspeed.

33 comments to “Poetry Friday: I’ve got a feeling…”

  1. IS there going to be a day when I don’t cry about this, ever? Eventually, I guess. But my sapitude is at an all-time high. Disgraceful, I tell you.

    This is the song in my head at the moment (when it pushes out Lenka’s “The Show.”)

    And when the brokenhearted people
    Living in the world agree,
    There will be an answer, let it be.
    For though they may be parted there is
    Still a chance that they will see
    There will be an answer, let it be.
    Let it be, let it be. Yeah
    There will be an answer, let it be.

    And when the night is cloudy,
    There is still a light that shines on me,
    Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.

  2. Tears running down my face, too…

    Last summer when we were in Germany, our friend Frieder played a recording of an organ piece by Max Drischner that perfectly captures a sunrise in music. That’s been playing in my mind and on my iPod.

    Not coincidentally, I got a phone call from Germany on Wednesday. Firsthand I got to hear the joy and relief in the world’s voice that America had made such a positive move.

    All last summer we apologized for our nation. It felt good to be proud to be an American again.

  3. The song that keeps running through my head is this:

    I still feel like I’m floating a few inches off the ground.

  4. Excellent musical choices, all. TadMack, I’m especially gratified that you’re going with the Beatles, although Julie’s choice tickles me too.

    And Mary Lee, I’ve had the same experience with my friends from other countries. I’m a lot less nervous about my upcoming trip to Korea now.

  5. “You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one.
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one.”

    Crying over here, too. Love the student video and of course, it was fabulous to start the day off with a shot of Paul.

  6. Walt knew how to sing it, didn’t he? Thanks for the morning salute in song. I love spontaneous renditions of our National Anthem—off-key crowds make me mushy!

    TadMack, I love that one! And your “disgraceful sapitude.”

  7. Great video and poem. Thanks.

    I’ve been singing “This Land Is Your Land” and listening to The Boss’s “The Rising” and U2s “Beautiful Day”

  8. Oh, thanks for posting these videos and the lines from Whitman. I’m loving how long this celebration is continuing…

  9. On the Black Gospel praise radio station we listen to on the way to and from school every day they have been playing Obama’s speaches in and around all the music since Wed. It brings me to tears over and over again. When my boys hear his voice they shout “Obama! Obama!”

    The song that plays around in my head over and over is Kirt Franklin’s A Brighter Day: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x13vlm_brighter-day-kirk-franklin-live_music

    Oh yes we can!!

  10. I mean “speeches”. Sheesh.

  11. Here in DC the streets were packed on election night, well into the wee hours of the morning. I stormed the White House with friends. What a night–and apparently Joan Baez was there in her bathrobe (see this article in the Washington Post:

    She opened her concert the next night with “We Shall Overcome”…

    I also hear Langston Hughes these days. Let America Be America Again makes my heart sing.

  12. I’m joining Tanita in the sappy department. I cry over commercials, so you can imagine what the outpouring of nationalism over the election has done to me.

    As for celebratory songs, mine has always been Back in the USSR. Can’t say why, but it just always makes me feel good.

    (Add another tally in the Beatles column!)

  13. Eisha, thanks for covering for my sick self today. I wish an inspiring song had been running through my head, but the theme song from a PBS children’s show has been running through my head for the past two days — and while I’ve been mostly horizontal from a stomach bug. I kid you not that I thought I’d lose my mind at one point. Eisha, I tried your “Centerfold” trick, and it actually didn’t take over the evil, nagging song. Olordamercy I nearly put my own self in a strait jacket.

    But this post ROCKS. I love reading everyone’s musical responses. See, it was meant to be that you take over for me today. I love that there’s an actual iReport of what happened at Ithaca College.

    TadMack, right on with your disgraceful saptitude. This is worth that!

  14. […] Cloudscome gives us an election day poem here. Carol shares a found poem.  Stenhouse Publishers sent this entry for the week, inspired by the presidential election. JAMA has some thoughts about Jefferon’s and the blue state of Virginia. 7-Imp is feeling a combo of Beatles, Francis Scott Key, and Whitman with their entry. […]

  15. Give me a community with high saptitude any day over one that has lost hope and survives on cynicism.

  16. Holy mackerel! The video of the kids is absolutely fabulous. Thanks for sharing. It makes me think there were spontaneous events like this going on at campuses across this fabulous country of ours.

  17. “This is goose-bump territory we’re entering here, ma’am…” Especially the one of the kids at Ithaca.

    (The one of The Beatles on the rooftop concert, one other point though: see Paul there, remembering him from 5-6 years earlier, and seeing him now… well, I can understand how they came up with the “Paul is dead and they replaced him with another guy!” conspiracy theory.)

    There’s a song with very corny lyrics which Mama Cass Elliot recorded, called “New World Coming.” Saccharine or not, I have been thinking this for the last 48 hours.

    Here is a video/slide show of her singing it. And below are the lyrics:

    There’s a New World Coming
    And it’s just around the bend
    There’s a new world coming
    This one’s coming to an end

    There’s a new voice calling
    You can hear it if you try
    And it’s growing stronger
    With each day that passes by

    There’s a brand new morning
    Rising clear and sweet and free
    There’s a new day dawning
    That belongs to you and me

    Yes a new world’s coming
    The one we’ve had visions of
    Coming in peace, coming in joy, coming in love

  18. Eisha,

    I love the spontaneous reaction by the students at Ithaca!

    Two of my musical choices would be This Land Is Your Land and Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man–or some other composition by Copland that speaks to this land of ours.

  19. Those students made me tear up again, so I am also a sap–and, it seems, in good company.

  20. P.S. Jules, Hope you’re feeling better and better.

    P.S.S. You MUST tell us–what PBS show was it whose song was stuck in your head?

  21. If I told you, then I’d have to kill you, ’cause THE SONG WOULD RETURN. I somehow managed to get rid of it, I THINK. Okay, it ends in “why.” Does that help? If I type both words in the title, the evil, EVIL never-ending loop of music may return to my mind.

    Adrienne, that Ithaca video makes me cry like a big baby, too.

    Thanks for the well wishes. I’m on the mend.

  22. I’ve got Cat Steven’s “Peace Train” running in my head. Also his version of “Morning Has Broken”.

  23. jama, obviously i thought of you when posting the Beatles video. Solo John Lennon is also a lovely choice.

    Sara, he sure did. And I think spontaneous heartfelt renditions of the anthem are the only way to go.

    teacherninja, what an eclectic mix! Yet all perfectly appropriate.

    Libby, I love it too! I think as the days have passed the actual fact of the victory has managed to sink in more and more, which just keeps making me happier and happier.

    cloudscome, I’d love to hear the combo of Obama’s speeches and gospel music. His acceptance speech was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever heard, and downright holy.

    Elise, I’m so jealous – to be in D.C. on that night of nights! To be able to say “I stormed the White House!” That must have been incredible.

    Tricia, here I thought it was funny that my song of choice in this patriotic moment was by a British band, and you had to trump me and pick “Back in the U.S.S.R.” I totally get it, though – that’s a fun song.

    jules, dang, I hope you’re feeling better. And if “Centerfold” didn’t work for you, try this one.

    Yat-Yee, WORD!!!

    Janet, I hope you’re right. Something my husband pointed out to me is that, for all the undergrads, this is the first time they’ve voted in a presidential election. So naturally emotions are running a little high anyway.

    Aw, JES, that’s a sweet and perfectly apt song. But, come on… that’s totally Paul. Look at those big brown doe-eyes!

    Elaine, nice choices! And “This Land is Your Land” is so much easier to sing than the SSB.

    adrienne, we’re all saps here. I’m a sap, you’re a sap… And I’m not really current on my PBS watching, but i can’t figure out what song Jules is talking about, can you?

  24. Oh, Clare! Beautiful choices!

  25. Well, Eisha, now that you’ve got “Bust A Move” in my head, I can say that it’s this show. Thanks for the new Song to Overcome the Evil, Annoying Ones.

  26. Any time, J. Hope you also enjoyed those early ’90s fashions on display in that video.

  27. That is a neat story, Eisha. Thanks for sharing it.


    Eisha, I believe it may be this show:


    I’ve never seen the show, but if that song was stuck in my head, well. I get the direness of Jules’ situation.

  29. Until you’ve heard Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings’ version of “This Land Is Your Land,” you have not truly lived.

  30. *sniff*
    Wow, that was awesome. Looks like the entire population of Ithaca College was out and celebrating, too.


  31. Thanks, Jen and Kelly.

    Chris, apparently I haven’t lived yet, but I’ll do my best to fix that. Thanks for the rec.

  32. After watching Obama’s victory speech, we hopped in a car and drove down to the White House to join the massive celebration. It was pure catharsis, singing and dancing and honking… as Aimee so aptly noted, “I don’t think i’ve ever heard you chant “U.S.A.!” before!”

    at least without a touch of irony.

    U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

    oh and p.s.: Tag, you’re it!

  33. […] Poetry Friday: I’ve got a feeling… November 7th, 2008 &nbsp&nbsp by eisha […]

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