Passages and Quotes

“Song of Spring”

“Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne, And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open ye (So priketh hem nature in hir corages),– Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes; And specially from every shires ende Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende, The hooly blisful martir for to seke, That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

–Geoffrey Chaucer, General Prologue The Canterbury Tales


Rainmaker, rainmaker
The sky is gray just by the touch of your hand
Rainmaker, rainmaker
Make me some rain, make all my crops grow tall

Rainmaker, rainmaker
The sky is gray, the ground is so hard
It’s been cracked by the sun
Rainmaker, you know my work’s never done

album: “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys” (1971) Traffic


“So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell
Blue skies from pain

Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts
Hot ashes for trees
Hot air for a cool breeze?

Cold comfort for change
Did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year

Running over the same old ground
What have we found?
The same old fears
Wish you were here”

–Pink Floyd


“Changing changelessness and changeless change”



“Of this there can be no question–creative work requires a loyalty as complete as the loyalty of water to the force of gravity.”

p. 28 Upstream by Mary Oliver


“I have been trying to make this matter clear–this matter that the whole fun of the thing is in seeing and inventing, trying to refute a common idea that education is a case of collecting and storing, instead of making. It’s not easy. But the matter is mighty well worth considering.”

p.88 The Art Spirit by Robert Henri 1923


“…the rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance…”

from Shakespeare, The Tempest…just attended the OSF performance with the 7th graders!


One of my all-time favorite books to read with my students is Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan.  It begins with this beautiful passage.  The heartbeat of the land is a theme that returns throughout the book.  Here it is:

 “Our land is alive, Esperanza,” said Papa, taking her small hand as they walked through the gentle slopes of the vineyard. Leafy green vines draped the arbors and the grapes were ready to drop. Esperanza was six years old and loved to walk with her papa through the winding rows, gazing up at him and watching his eyes dance with love for the land.

“This whole valley breathes and lives,” he said, sweeping his arm toward the distant mountains that guarded them. “It gives us the grapes and then they welcome us.” He gently touched a wild tendril that reached into the row, as if it had been waiting to shake his hand. He picked up a handful of earth and studied it. “Did you know that when you lie down on the land, you can feel it breathe? That you can feel its heart beating?”

“Papi, I want to feel it,” she said.

“Come.” They walked to the end of the row, where the incline of the land formed a grassy swell.

Papa lay down on his stomach and looked up at her, patting the ground next to him.

Esperanza smoothed her dress and knelt down. Then, like a caterpillar, she slowly inched flat next to him, their faces looking at each other. The warm sun pressed on one of Esperanza’s cheeks and the warm earth on the other.

She giggled.

“Shhh,” he said. “You can only feel the earth’s heartbeat when you are still and quiet.”

She swallowed her laughter and after a moment said, “I can’t hear it, Papi.”

“Aguantate tantito y la fruta caera entu mano,” he said. “Wait a little while and the fruit will fall into your hand. You must be patient, Esperanza.”

She waited and lay silent, watching Papa’s eyes.

And then she felt it. Softly at first. A gentle thumping. Then stronger. A resounding thud, thud, thud against her body.

She could hear it, too. The beat rushing in her ears. Shoomp, shoomp, shoomp.

She stared at Papa, not wanting to say a word. Not wanting to lose the sound. Not wanting to forget the feel of the heart of the valley.

She pressed closer to the ground, until her body was breathing with the earth’s. And with Papa’s. The three hearts beating together.

She smiled at Papa, not needing to talk, her eyes saying everything.

And his smile answered hers. Telling her that he knew she had felt it.”


The Man Born to Farming by Wendell Berry

The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
that the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
descending in the dark


from From the Good Earth  by Michael Ableman

By the simple act of reconnecting with our food, we will nourish and revitalize ourselves and our earth.  The act of eating then becomes an act of caring–for our bodies and those of our families, and for the body of the earth of which we partake.”




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