Friday, January 11, 2013

The Builders


This message of this short video offers a strong contrast to the message of the poem of the same name by Longfellow.  In a perfect lesson I would show the video, and discuss the phrase "Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."  Discuss attitudes about work.  This year I read aloud entries from one of my class interest journals titled "Stories from the Workplace" to foster a dialogue.  Then we read the poem by Longfellow, which is very abstract, yet inspirational.

The Builders
All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.
For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.
Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
We would attempt to interpret the poem using common features: blocks, the builders themselves, goal, etc. I would have them write a compare and contrast statement exploring the differing messages using specific lines and observations.  

2 comments:

Chris said...

This is excellent.

Chris said...

This is excellent.