Monday, February 19, 2018

Presidents Day: Duty to Posterity

Abraham Lincoln ~
born 12 February 1809 - died 15 April 1865
16th President of the United States of America ~
from 4 March 1861 – until his death
Ben, Gerry, and Sam ~ Spring Break 2004
At the Lincoln Memorial


" 'Tis our task to transmit to the latest generation:
a political edifice of liberty and equal rights,
gratitude to our [founders],
justice to ourselves,
duty to posterity,
and love for our species in general."


Summarized from Lincoln's Lyceum Address
Springfield, Illinois ~ 27 January 1838

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The following poem has been on my blog before,
but never on Presidents Day!

You Were Wearing

You were wearing your Edgar Allan Poe printed cotton blouse.
In each divided up square of the blouse was a picture of Edgar Allan Poe.
Your hair was blonde and you were cute. You asked me,
"Do most boys think that most girls are bad?"
I smelled the mould of your seaside resort hotel bedroom on your hair held in place by a John Greenleaf Whittier clip.
"No," I said, "it's girls who think that boys are bad."
Then we read Snowbound together
And ran around in an attic, so that a little of the blue enamel was scraped off my George Washington, Father of His Country, shoes.

Mother was walking in the living room, her Strauss Waltzes comb in her hair.
We waited for a time and then joined her, only to be served
tea in cups painted with pictures of Herman Melville
As well as with illustrations from his book Moby Dick
and from his novella, Benito Cereno.
Father came in wearing his Dick Tracy necktie: "How about a drink, everyone?"
I said, "Let's go outside a while."
Then we went onto the porch and sat on the Abraham Lincoln swing.
You sat on the eyes, mouth, and beard part, and I sat on the knees.
In the yard across the street we saw a snowman holding a garbage can lid mashed into a likeness of the mad English king, George the Third.


by Kenneth Koch, American poet, playwright, professor 1925 - 2002

More by Kenneth Koch [pronounced "coke"]:
The Syntax of Love
House Sisters

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