Friday, September 15, 2006

A Reposting With Some New Information

This post was originally posted 7-23-06. I got a comment on the post today which will be printed in full at the bottom.


Like a composer that writes for his own performance, Lindsay wrote for his own readings. Many of his manuscripts are like scripts for the stage. He was exuberant, thoughtful, outrageous, and very American.

This is one of my favorites. I would have put it on the sidebar but the lines are too long and would have to be broken, ruining the scan of the words. . .

The Leaden-Eyed

Let not young souls be smothered out before
They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride.
It is the world's one crime its babes grow dull,
Its poor are ox-like, limp and leaden-eyed.

Not that they starve, but starve so dreamlessly;
Not that they sow, but that they seldom reap;
Not that they serve, but have no gods to serve;
Not that they die, but that they die like sheep.

-- Vachel Lindsay



I received this email today:

Thanks for spotlighting Vachel Lindsay. I serve on the board The Vachel Lindsay Association, a non-profit organization devoted to the legacy & ideals of the poet. We've been active for 60 years here in the Vachel's hometown, Springfield, Illinois.

I blog about Vachel on behalf of the VLA here.

I love Lindsay's art, his bardic devotion to the oral tradition. His politics are particularly good, with the obvious exceptions of his early prohibitionism and enthusiam for the missionary movement.

The Leaden Eyed is a particularly good choice to represent the poet's considerable body of work in one short poem. His was a democratic, populist and utopian voice.

Thanks again for remembering this great American dreamer.


This is an excellent site that contains a wealth of information on an important American poet. I urge you to visit. Reading Lindsey is something I believe is essential to understanding the character of America itself. As the writer said, there were some unfortunate aspects of Lindsey's politics, but whether or not you agree with his take on a subject or his position on an issue, there were never any hidden agendas with him. You knew without any doubt exactly where he stood and what he believed. The things that Vachel Lindsey believed were things that he believed in the middle of his bones. I wish we had poets approaching that today.


crossposted at Big Brass Blog

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