Songs for the People
Let me make the songs for the people,
. . . .Songs for the old and young;
Songs to stir like a battle-cry
. . . .Wherever they are sung.
Not for the clashing of sabres,
. . . .For carnage nor for strife;
But songs to thrill the hearts of men
. . . .With more abundant life.
Let me make the songs for the weary,
. . . .Amid life’s fever and fret,
Till hearts shall relax their tension,
. . . .And careworn brows forget.
Let me sing for little children,
. . . .Before their footsteps stray,
Sweet anthems of love and duty,
. . . .To float o’er life’s highway.
I would sing for the poor and aged,
. . . .When shadows dim their sight;
Of the bright and restful mansions,
. . . .Where there shall be no night.
Our world, so worn and weary,
. . . .Needs music, pure and strong,
To hush the jangle and discords
. . . .Of sorrow, pain, and wrong.
Music to soothe all its sorrow,
. . . .Till war and crime shall cease;
And the hearts of men grown tender
. . . .Girdle the world with peace.
by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911)
Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim
[Editor’s Note: Though I posted this poem last year, it seems appropriate to post it once again.]