Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pete Seeger: "To My Old Brown Earth"

[Curator's note: The folksinger, songwriter and activist Pete Seeger died on January 27, 2014, at the age of 94. His loss leaves a hole in the world, and in me. He was very much a "wordsmith of the here & now," among other things. Though I'm no poet, I turned to poetry to grieve his passing. I was also tempted to mark his passing with a post at A Year of Being Here. So I was grateful when, a few days ago, the poet Mary O'Connor sent me this video and suggested it be shared with our reading community. You know, it's often debated whether song lyrics are poems—as if many of the first poems weren't sung. Just read and listen. Then tell me Pete was no poet. Tell me his were no "living words." If you ask me, we all need to sing more....]

To my old brown earth
And to my old blue sky
I'll now give these last few molecules of "I."

And you who sing,
And you who stand nearby,
I do charge you not to cry.

Guard well our human chain,
Watch well you keep it strong,
As long as sun will shine.

And this our home,
Keep pure and sweet and green,
For now I'm yours
And you are also mine.

"To My Old Brown Earth," by Pete Seeger. Words and music by Pete Seeger. © 1958. © 1964 (renewed) by Stormking Music, Inc.

Video credit: From "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song," directed by Jim Brown for the PBS "American Masters"series, © 2007. If you can't see the viewer above, click here to watch the video.

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