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American Tribute: Johnny Appleseed

Happy Independence Day everyone! 

I thought in honor of the 4th, I would do a post about an American legend.  Although there are many to choose from, my mind jumped to Johnny Appleseed, who’s real name was John Chapman.  You can read a bit about the man behind the American folk tale HERE.

One of the most lovely tributes to this peaceful man who was a pioneer for conservationism is Vachel Lindsay’s poem: “In Praise of Johnny Appleseed”.  Below is part one (Over the Appalachian Barricade) of the three part poem, which can be found in its entirety HERE.

I. ~Over the Appalachian Barricade~

[Sidenote: To be read like old leaves on the elm tree of Time.
Sifting soft winds with sentence and rhyme

In the days of President Washington,
The glory of the nations,
Dust and ashes,
Snow and sleet,
And hay and oats and wheat,
Blew west,
Crossed the Appalachians,
Found the glades of rotting leaves, the soft deer-pastures,
The farms of the far-off future
In the forest.
Colts jumped the fence,
Snorting, ramping, snapping, sniffing,
With gastronomic calculations,
Crossed the Appalachians,
The east walls of our citadel,
And turned to gold-horned unicorns,
Feasting in the dim, volunteer farms of the forest.
Stripedest, kickingest kittens escaped,
Caterwauling “Yankee Doodle Dandy,”
Renounced their poor relations,
Crossed the Appalachians,
And turned to tiny tigers
In the humorous forest.
Chickens escaped
From farmyard congregations,
Crossed the Appalachians,
And turned to amber trumpets
On the ramparts of our Hoosiers’ nest and citadel,
Millennial heralds
Of the foggy mazy forest.
Pigs broke loose, scrambled west,
Scorned their loathsome stations,
Crossed the Appalachians,
Turned to roaming, foaming wild boars
Of the forest.
The smallest, blindest puppies toddled west
While their eyes were coming open,
And, with misty observations,
Crossed the Appalachians,
Barked, barked, barked
At the glow-worms and the marsh lights and the lightning-bugs,
And turned to ravening wolves
Of the forest.
Crazy parrots and canaries flew west,
Drunk on May-time revelations,
Crossed the Appalachians,
And turned to delirious, flower-dressed fairies
Of the lazy forest.
Haughtiest swans and peacocks swept west,
And, despite soft derivations,
Crossed the Appalachians,
And turned to blazing warrior souls
Of the forest,
Singing the ways
Of the Ancient of Days.
And the “Old Continentals
In their ragged regimentals,”
With bard’s imaginations,
Crossed the Appalachians.
A boy
Blew west
And with prayers and incantations,
And with “Yankee Doodle Dandy,”
Crossed the Appalachians,
And was “young John Chapman,”
“Johnny Appleseed, Johnny Appleseed,”
Chief of the fastnesses, dappled and vast,
In a pack on his back,
In a deer-hide sack,
The beautiful orchards of the past,
The ghosts of all the forests and the groves–
In that pack on his back,
In that talisman sack,
To-morrow’s peaches, pears and cherries,
To-morrow’s grapes and red raspberries,
Seeds and tree souls, precious things,
Feathered with microscopic wings,
All the outdoors the child heart knows,
And the apple, green, red, and white,
Sun of his day and his night–
The apple allied to the thorn,
Child of the rose.
Porches untrod of forest houses
All before him, all day long,
“Yankee Doodle” his marching song;
And the evening breeze
Joined his psalms of praise
As he sang the ways
Of the Ancient of Days.


4 comments on “American Tribute: Johnny Appleseed

  1. Cloches & Lavender
    July 4, 2012

    Nice tribut Happy and safe 4th!!


  2. wifemeetslife
    July 4, 2012

    Have a great holiday! We used to read that poem when I was in grade school and we did our history unit. It takes me waaay back…

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