Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Keep A-Goin' "

Keep A-Goin'  by Frank Lebby Stanton (1857-1927) is probably my favorite poem.  I read it to my children when they were young, and I read it myself when needing inspiration.  If you can't remember the words to poems, or don't like to memorize, all you need here is to remember the title-- Keep A-Goin'
Keep A-Goin'

If you strike a thorn or rose,
Keep a-goin'!
If it hails or if it snows,
Keep a-goin'!
'Taint no use to sit an' whine
When the fish ain't on your line;
Bait your hook an' keep a-tryin'--
Keep a-goin'!

When the weather kills your crop,
Keep a-goin'!
Though 'tis work to reach the top,
Keep a-goin'!
S'pose you're out o' ev'ry dime,
Gittin' broke ain't any crime;
Tell the world you're feelin' prime--
Keep a-goin'!

When it looks like all is up,
Keep a-goin'!
Drain the sweetness from the cup,
Keep a-goin'!
See the wild birds on the wing,
Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
When you feel like singin', sing--
Keep a-goin'!

Frank Stanton was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1857.  Stanton's father was a printer, then Confederate soldier, and later a farmer.

Remember that all the years of growing trouble between the North and South erupted in civil war on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on Federal Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter surrendered 34 hours later, and Union forces would try for nearly four years to take it back.

Frank Stanton started his education in Savannah, Georgia, but his schooling was cut short by the Civil War (1861-1865). 

Recall that Savannah fell to Union General William T. Sherman just before Christmas in 1864 following Sherman's famous "March to the Sea."  It was from Savannah that Sherman telegraphed President Lincoln, presenting the City of Savannah as "a Christmas gift." 

In 1869, at age 12, Stanton apprenticed with a printer, and later got into the newspaper business. He went on to work as a columnist for the Atlanta Constitution until he died in 1927 at the age of 70. 

One of Stanton's works most widely quoted during his lifetime was a quatrain titled "This World" and it is reportedly on his tombstone in Atlanta's Westview Cemetery:

This world we're a'livin' in
Is mighty hard to beat.
You get a thorn with every rose.
But ain't the roses sweet?