Back home in New York, after a month out in the Black Hills of South Dakota, this oldie but goodie came to mind:
Paul Goodman, “The Lordly Hudson”
“Driver, what stream is it?” I asked, well knowing
it was our lordly Hudson hardly flowing.
“It is our lordly Hudson hardly flowing,”
he said, “under the green-grown cliffs.”
Be still, heart! No one needs
your passionate suffrage to select this glory,
this is our lordly Hudson hardly flowing
under the green-grown cliffs.
“Driver, has this a peer in Europe or the East?”
“No, no!” he said. Home! Home!
Be quiet, heart! This is our lordly Hudson
and has no peer in Europe or the east.
This is our lordly Hudson hardly flowing
under the green-grown cliffs
and has no peer in Europe or the East.
Be quiet, heart! Home! Home!
Actually, I’m not as enamored of New York as some of our friends (are you there, Richard?), but it is good to get back. For that matter, Paul Goodman was a nut of the first water, and why, all those years ago, Commentary magazine published his “Growing Up Absurd” is one of those questions Norman Podhoretz will have to take with him into the afterlife.
But the poem has always been one of my small favorites, and it has a nice setting to music by Ned Rorem. Our friend Terry Teachout recommends as the best available recording the one by Susan Graham and Malcolm Martineau.