The Earth Keeps Some Vibrations Going
One of my favorite collection of poems, often performed, is Spoon River Anthology, by Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950). My husband, George Gray, has directed it several times. Many of the characters are wonderful in different ways. Fiddler Jones is a great character. He is so positive and upbeat. He loved his life even though music could be a disastrous distraction. My grandfather fiddled for community dances back when they were the thing for a farming community to do. My mother and son chose to major in music in college so the philosophy of Fiddler Jones is special to me. I will share the excerpt so you won’t have to look it up. Enjoy
The earth keeps some vibrations going
There in your heart, and that is you.
And if the people find you can fiddle,
Why fiddle you must, for all your life.
What do you see, a harvest of clover?
Or a meadow to walk through to the river?
The winds’s in the corn; you rub your hands
For beeves hereafter ready for the market;
Or else you hear the rustle of skirts
Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.
To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust
Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drougth;
They looked to me like Red-Headed Sammy
Stepping it off, to “Toor-a-Loor.”
How could I till my forty acres
Not to speak of getting more,
With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos
Stirred in my brain by crows, and robins
And the creak of a wind-mill–only these?
And I never started to plow in my life
That some one did not stop in the road
And take me away to a dance or picnic.
I ended up with forty acres;
I ended up with a broken fiddle–
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories
And not a single regret.
Edgar Lee Masters