Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Childhood Poems Remembered by Lloyd Taylor By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

Flowering Quince

I was listening to a tape of Lloyd and Ethel Taylor from the late 1960’s. In it, they both try to remember some of the poems they had learned as children, from McGuffey’s Readers and other books and lessons they had in early school years.
Uncle Jack asked Grandpa to stand next to the tape recorder so he could get it whatever he could remember. An energized Lloyd emphatically spoke: “Come on then, let’s do it!”

Lloyd remembered a few lines about Lombardy Poplars, which helped me to find the actual reading. It was from The Manual for Special Day Exercises, 1904; each verse is a different pupil and twelve year old Lloyd obviously had the Poplars line:

Camperdown Elm

What the Trees Teach Us
I am taught by the Oak to be rugged and strong
In defense of the right: in defiance of the wrong.

I have learned from the Maple, that beauty to win
The love of all hearts, must have sweetness within.

The Beech, with its branches wide-spreading and low,
Awakes in my heart hospitality’s glow.

The Pine tells of constancy. In its sweet voice
It whispers of hope till sad mortals rejoice.

The nut-bearing trees teach that ‘neath manners gruff,
May be found as ‘sweet kernels’ as in their caskets tough.

Birch Tree

The Birch, in its wrappings of silvery gray,
Shows that beauty needs not to make gorgeous display.

The Ash, having fibers tenacious and strong,
Teaches me firm resistance, to battle with wrong.

The Aspen tells me with its quivering leaves,
To be gently with every sad creature that grieves.

The Lombardy Poplars point upward, in praise,
My voice to kind Heaven they teach me to raise.

The Elm teaches me to be pliant yet true;
Though bowed by rude winds, it still rises anew.

Camperdown Elm

I am taught generosity, boundless and free,
By the showers of fruit from the dear Apple tree.

The Cherry tree blushing with fruit crimson red,
Tells of God’s free abundance that all may be fed.

In the beautiful Linden, so fair to the sight,
This truth I discern: It is inwardly white.

The firm-rooted Cedars like sentries of old,
Show that virtues deep-rooted may also be bold.
                                                --Helen O. Hoyt, in the Teacher’s World.

I liked that the older Lloyd, who grew up to show his children the wildflowers and trees of the countryside, still remembered the nature poem that young Lloyd had to stand tall and recite. 

Black Locust tree taken between Yews

Next, Grandpa recited this poem by Eugene Field, who is sometimes called ‘The Children’s Poet’:

Over the Hills and Far Away
From Poems of Childhood

Over the hills and far away,
A little boy steals from his morning play,
And under the blossoming apple-tree
He lies and dreams of the things to be:
Of battles fought and of victories won,
Of wrongs o'erthrown and of great deeds done--
Of the valor that he shall prove some day,
Over the hills and far away--
Over the hills and far away!
Over the hills and far away
It's, oh, for the toil of the livelong day!
But it mattereth not to the soul aflame
With a love for riches and power and fame!
On, O man! while the sun is high--
On to the certain joys that lie
Yonder where blazeth the noon of day.
Over the hills and far away--
Over the hills and far away!
Over the hills and far away
An old man lingers at close of day;
Now that his journey is almost done,
His battles fought and his victories won--
The old-time honesty and truth,
The trustfulness and the friends of youth,
Home and mother--where are they?
Over the hills and far away--
Over the hills and far away!

Peach Tree

When Lloyd was reciting this last part:

An old man lingers at close of day;
Now that his journey is almost done,
His battles fought and his victories won--

 he was quoting about himself, as he would die a few short years later.

Fifty years from now, which poems of childhood will we remember?

The pictures were all taken by Susan Kinsella, and except for the birch tree taken at Otty Lake in Canada, were taken at the California country estate of  Filoli. Thank you Sue!


Mom/ CB said...

I remember that night so well! Daddy [ Lloyd} was in his element! Remembered his school years and he and MOm compared theirs. Daddy sang a hymn and we all enjoyed their memories! I cant say that I remember any poem from my ear;ly days, we did not memorize as they did , but I do remember a song that I sang withmy best friend in the fourth grade! Funny the things that stick!

Mom/ CB said...

As I reread Mom's diaries I see that this was done in 1958! And I remember well how very proud Daddy was to remember! They both enjoyed going back thru the years!!