Page 3 Arts and Justice

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From the website of Natural Resources Defense Council

  April 23, 2019 
In Hundreds of Vintage Postcards, Americana
 Meets the Apocalypse
A postcard from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
as part of the David Opdyke's This Land

David Opdyke’s intricate panorama shows the country’s landscape ravaged by extractive industries and the politics of climate denial.

The title of David Opdyke’s environmental magnum opus, This Land, is a nod to Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” the 1944 folk song that some consider an alternative national anthem. Known to nearly every schoolchild, the song celebrates the grandeur of the American landscape and the sacred democratic notion that it belongs to all of us. 

See more of the postcard exhibit, click here
All postcards courtesy of David Opdyke.

The American Juggernaut

The American juggernaut:  Everything noble, patriotic, and progressive is crushed beneath the remorseless tread of that mammoth monster of corruption, cruelty, and fraud, the vampire rings of capital. Artist Matt Morgan. 1873. Library of Congress

From PBS Station KQED TV - San Francisco

Teaching Art for Social Justice
(Videos for art educators of all sorts)

"Many artists create work that intersects with political activism and social justice causes. Throughout history, art has been used as an accessible tool for communication, raising awareness about social issues and affecting positive change. This video collection will introduce students to artists who create work that inspires dialogue about problems faced by communities around the world, and will provide inspiration for classroom projects with a social, public or political purpose."

Commentary from UUA President Susan Frederick Gray

The Church needs to recapture its prophetic zeal

"What is at stake in the conversation regarding the decline in religious life 
is not just the future of our faith institutions but the future of humanity.

Sojourners, April  18, Click here to read the story

Poetry Corner
The Poet and His Song
by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

"Born on June 27, 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African American poets to gain national recognition. His parents Joshua and Matilda Murphy Dunbar were freed slaves from Kentucky. His parents separated shortly after his birth, but Dunbar would draw on their stories of plantation life throughout his writing career. By the age of fourteen, Dunbar had poems published in the Dayton Herald. While in high school he edited the Dayton Tattler, a short-lived black newspaper published by classmate Orville Wright."

(Read more about this poet by clicking here)

The Poet and His Song

A song is but a little thing, 
And yet what joy it is to sing!
In hours of toil it gives me zest,
And when at eve I long for rest;
When cows come home along the bars,
And in the fold I hear the bell,
As Night, the shepherd, herds his stars,
I sing my song, and all is well.

There are no ears to hear my lays,
No lips to lift a word of praise;
But still, with faith unfaltering,
I live and laugh and love and sing.
What matters yon unheeding throng?
They cannot feel my spirit’s spell,
Since life is sweet and love is long,
I sing my song, and all is well.

My days are never days of ease;
I till my ground and prune my trees.
When ripened gold is all the plain,
I put my sickle to the grain.
I labor hard, and toil and sweat,
While others dream within the dell;
But even while my brow is wet,
I sing my song, and all is well.

Sometimes the sun, unkindly hot,
My garden makes a desert spot;
Sometimes a blight upon the tree
Takes all my fruit away from me;
And then with throes of bitter pain
Rebellious passions rise and swell;
But—life is more than fruit or grain,
And so I sing, and all is well.

The Masque by E. E. Griffith
(from the Overland Monthly magazine, June, 1920)

When I’m walking down the street,
Many are the folks I meet; 
Yet I feel that I have strayed,
To a mighty masquerade; 

For the faces that I see
Often bring no hint to me
Of the thoughts that press the brain, 
Whether they be of joy or pain,

Whether wonder, love or hate,
Whether petty, common, great,
What their pet antipathy?
What extent of sympathy?

Painted masks, these myriad faces,
Hiding honor and disgraces,
Hiding in their inmost heart
Thoughts which they conceal with art.

How this mad monotony
Savors of satiety!
Would that they would lift the veil,
Smile or sigh or laugh or wail,

Just a little, so to me,
Comes their minds’ activity;
So that I may somehow know,
How, with them, the world-winds blow.

The New Spirit by H.M.M.
(from the Overland Monthly magazine, January 1920)

No longer raise I sword in angry fight
No longer do I kill.
I’ve put the War God’s image from my sight, 
No longer do his will.

The world has had enough unhappy woe.
I turn to home and wife,
To rice fields or to trading, now I go, 
To lead a quiet life.

Great Buddha grant all my children’s sons,
And mine, will never cease,
To greet a distant stranger as he comes,
With friendship and with peace.

by Anonymous

(from Carlos Bulosan's America is in the Heart)

"America is in the Heart was first published in 1943, this classic memoir by well-known Filipino poet Carlos Bulosan describes his boyhood in the Philippines, his voyage to America, and his years of hardship and despair as an itinerant laborer following the harvest trail in the rural West."
 A frowning face

Or a sweet smile

I do admire

and life and death

Are silly little puppets

Playing on a make-believe stage

For a reckless wanderer --

I am a wanderer

And my country is the world

The Unreturning

by Wilfred Owen, 1893 - 1918

"Wilfred was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. His war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his mentor Siegfried Sassoon, and stood in stark contrast both to the public perception of war at the time and to the confidently patriotic verse written by earlier war poets...." Owen was killed one week before the signing of the Armistice. More on Wikipedia

Suddenly night crushed out the day and hurled
Her remnants over cloud-peaks, thunder-walled.
Then fell a stillness such as harks appalled
When far-gone dead return upon the world.

There watched I for the Dead; but no ghost woke.
Each one whom Life exiled I named and called.
But they were all too far, or dumbed, or thralled;
And never one fared back to me or spoke.

Then peered the indefinite unshapen dawn
With vacant gloaming, sad as half-lit minds,
The weak-limned hour when sick men’s sighs are drained.
And while I wondered on their being withdrawn,
Gagged by the smothering wing which none unbinds,
I dreaded even a heaven with doors so chained.