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Joshua Allen

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This was on the bulletin board at our local library for a concert this month, a very striking painted portrait of Joshua Allen with a gemshorn.

Joshua Allen learned traditional hymns and tunes trailing a plow and mule, walking in the tobacco fields with his uncle. Born in Henderson, NC, Allen went on to serve as a Marine in Vietnam, win various bodybuilding championships and sing at a gubernatorial inauguration. He also hand makes and plays the traditional African ox horn flute, performing sacred and secular tunes he heard as a child.


I was privileged to be witness to this heartfelt concert!


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Dr. Marianne Kessler



One response

  1. The Creation

    And God stepped out on space,
    And he looked around and said:
    I’m lonely–
    I’ll make me a world.

    And far as the eye of God could see
    Darkness covered everything,
    Blacker than a hundred midnights
    Down in a cypress swamp.

    Then God smiled,
    And the light broke,
    And the darkness rolled up on one side,
    And the light stood shining on the other,
    And God said: That’s good!

    Then God reached out and took the light in his hands,
    And God rolled the light around in his hands
    Until he made the sun;
    And he set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.
    And the light that was left from making the sun
    God gathered it up in a shining ball
    And flung it against the darkness,
    Spangling the night with the moon and stars.
    Then down between
    The darkness and the light
    He hurled the world;
    And God said: That’s good!

    Then God himself stepped down–
    And the sun was on his right hand,
    And the moon was on his left;
    The stars were clustered about his head,
    And the earth was under his feet.
    And God walked, and where he trod
    His footsteps hollowed the valleys out
    And bulged the mountains up.

    Then he stopped and looked and saw
    That the earth was hot and barren.
    So God stepped over to the edge of the world
    And he spat out the seven seas–
    He batted his eyes, and the lightnings flashed–
    He clapped his hands, and the thunders rolled–
    And the waters above the earth came down,
    The cooling waters came down.

    Then the green grass sprouted,
    And the little red flowers blossomed,
    The pine tree pointed his finger to the sky,
    And the oak spread out his arms,
    The lakes cuddled down in the hollows of the ground,
    And the rivers ran down to the sea;
    And God smiled again,
    And the rainbow appeared,
    And curled itself around his shoulder.

    Then God raised his arm and he waved his hand
    Over the sea and over the land,
    And he said: Bring forth! Bring forth!
    And quicker than God could drop his hand,
    Fishes and fowls
    And beasts and birds
    Swam the rivers and the seas,
    Roamed the forests and the woods,
    And split the air with their wings.
    And God said: That’s good!

    Then God walked around,
    And God looked around
    On all that he had made.
    He looked at his sun,
    And he looked at his moon,
    And he looked at his little stars;
    He looked on his world
    With all its living things,
    And God said: I’m lonely still.

    Then God sat down–
    On the side of a hill where he could think;
    By a deep, wide river he sat down;
    With his head in his hands,
    God thought and thought,
    Till he thought: I’ll make me a man!

    Up from the bed of the river
    God scooped the clay;
    And by the bank of the river
    He kneeled him down;
    And there the great God Almighty
    Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
    Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
    Who rounded the earth in the middle of his hand;
    This great God,
    Like a mammy bending over her baby,
    Kneeled down in the dust
    Toiling over a lump of clay
    Till he shaped it in is his own image;

    Then into it he blew the breath of life,
    And man became a living soul.

    James Weldon Johnson

    February 24, 2013 at 2:31 am

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