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Celebration of family
Posted by: Pisa (
Date: July 14, 2004 09:10PM

I need a suggestion for a classical poem that speaks of family lines, descendents, progeny, etc. My mother's internment is going to be a family reunion, rather than occasion of mourning.

Thank you.

Re: Celebration of family
Posted by: Pam Adams (
Date: July 14, 2004 10:28PM

How about this one, from Anne Bradstreet?


In Reference to her Children, 23 June 1659
by Anne Bradstreet

I had eight birds hatched in one nest,
Four cocks there were, and hens the rest.
I nursed them up with pain and care,
Nor cost, nor labour did I spare,
Till at the last they felt their wing,
Mounted the trees, and learned to sing;
Chief of the brood then took his flight
To regions far and left me quite.
My mournful chirps I after send,
Till he return, or I do end:
Leave not thy nest, thy dam and sire,
Fly back and sing amidst this choir.
My second bird did take her flight,
And with her mate flew out of sight;
Southward they both their course did bend,
And seasons twain they there did spend,
Till after blown by southern gales,
They norward steered with filled sails.
A prettier bird was no where seen,
Along the beach among the treen.
I have a third of colour white,
On whom I placed no small delight;
Coupled with mate loving and true,
Hath also bid her dam adieu;
And where Aurora first appears,
She now hath perched to spend her years.
One to the academy flew
To chat among that learned crew;
Ambition moves still in his breast
That he might chant above the rest
Striving for more than to do well,
That nightingales he might excel.
My fifth, whose down is yet scarce gone,
Is 'mongst the shrubs and bushes flown,
And as his wings increase in strength,
On higher boughs he'll perch at length.
My other three still with me nest,
Until they're grown, then as the rest,
Or here or there they'll take their flight,
As is ordained, so shall they light.
If birds could weep, then would my tears
Let others know what are my fears
Lest this my brood some harm should catch,
And be surprised for want of watch,
Whilst pecking corn and void of care,
They fall un'wares in fowler's snare,
Or whilst on trees they sit and sing,
Some untoward boy at them do fling,
Or whilst allured with bell and glass,
The net be spread, and caught, alas.
Or lest by lime-twigs they be foiled,
Or by some greedy hawks be spoiled.
O would my young, ye saw my breast,
And knew what thoughts there sadly rest,
Great was my pain when I you fed,
Long did I keep you soft and warm,
And with my wings kept off all harm,
My cares are more and fears than ever,
My throbs such now as 'fore were never.
Alas, my birds, you wisdom want,
Of perils you are ignorant;
Oft times in grass, on trees, in flight,
Sore accidents on you may light.
O to your safety have an eye,
So happy may you live and die.
Meanwhile my days in tunes I'll spend,
Till my weak lays with me shall end.
In shady woods I'll sit and sing,
And things that past to mind I'll bring.
Once young and pleasant, as are you,
But former toys (no joys) adieu.
My age I will not once lament,
But sing, my time so near is spent.
And from the top bough take my flight
Into a country beyond sight,
Where old ones instantly grow young,
And there with seraphims set song;
No seasons cold, nor storms they see;
But spring lasts to eternity.
When each of you shall in your nest
Among your young ones take your rest,
In chirping language, oft them tell,
You had a dam that loved you well,
That did what could be done for young,
And nursed you up till you were strong,
And 'fore she once would let you fly,
She showed you joy and misery;
Taught what was good, and what was ill,
What would save life, and what would kill.
Thus gone, amongst you I may live,
And dead, yet speak, and counsel give:
Farewell, my birds, farewell adieu,
I happy am, if well with you.

Re: Celebration of family
Posted by: Pisa (
Date: July 15, 2004 11:30AM

Thank you very much, Pam, for having taken the time to make a suggestion and paste it for me.
This isn't quite what I need.
We will be multi families of several generations standing among our ancestors in a cemetary.
I was hoping to find a poem that dealt with lineage, the passage of life from one generation to the next.


Re: Celebration of family
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: July 15, 2004 06:02PM

How about some of the BEGATS from the Bible?

There's a passage about Jacob and Esau and all the children they both had by many different wives--the founding of at least twenty different and important lines.

There's also the geneology of Jesus, right at the beginning of one of the Gospels, tracing from King David to Joseph.


Here are four lines of Wordsworth that seem appropriate:

    AS leaves are to the tree whereon they grow
    And wither, every human generation
    Is, to the Being of a mighty nation,
    Locked in our world's embrace through weal and woe...

The rest of the poem is NOT so fitting: [] />


I found those lines by going to, choosing the "Verse" tab, and then searching for the word GENERATION. There were lots of hits and I didn't have time to look at them carefully. You could try that -- and also look for GENERATIONS, plural -- in fact, look for that FIRST, because the hits look even better.

Re: Celebration of family
Posted by: Pisa (
Date: July 15, 2004 08:18PM

Thank you for the suggestion, Marian, as well as for the explanation of your search.
The Wordsworth piece is getting closer...
I'll definitely have a look at bartleby.


Re: Celebration of family
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: July 16, 2004 11:29AM

Re: Celebration of family
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: July 16, 2004 11:36AM

Re: Celebration of family
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: July 16, 2004 12:30PM

How about "I am the Family Face" by Thomas Hardy

I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
Over oblivion.

The years-heired feature that can
In curve and voice and eye
Despise the human span
Of durance—that is I;
The eternal thing in man,
That heeds no call to die.

Re: Celebration of family
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: July 16, 2004 06:10PM

Marian2 --

That Hardy poem is wonderful! I don't know if Pisa wants it, but I do! My dad's 70th birthday is coming up, we (his daughters) look astonishingly like him--and like his mother. I'll give him this poem at the big party.


Re: Celebration of family
Posted by: Pam Adams (
Date: July 16, 2004 07:21PM

What, you're not going to write one for him?


Maybe Hugh would do a limerick. Of course, if he did, you wouldn't want to read it in front of people.

Re: Celebration of family
Posted by: Pisa (
Date: July 17, 2004 07:52PM

The "Family Face" is just the sort of thing that I've been after, Marian 2! I shall definitely use it...our family has a Danish nose...
It's a wonderful metaphor to use for the passage of generations.

I've truly appreciated all the suggestions.

thank you all!

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