Having been commissioned to write a poem for the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association for a piece relating to Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” I have had Abraham Lincoln on my mind. Because of the agreement with the WMPA, I can’t say what the poem is about, but I will post a link to it once it has been publicized. My poem will never compare to Walt Whitman’s Civil War poetry, but I hope my poem makes a point.
WHEN lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d, And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring, Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west, And thought of him I love.
Here’s a very brief biography of Lincoln that I put together for my adult students studying English.
Abraham Lincoln was born on Feb. 12, 1809 in a log cabin in Kentucky. His family was very poor.
In 1816, when Abraham Lincoln was seven years old, he and his family moved to Indiana.
In 1830, the Lincolns left Indiana for Illinois. Abraham Lincoln started to study law.
Lincoln became a lawyer in 1836. He became interested in government and was famous for his honesty. People called him “Honest Abe.”
Lincoln met Mary Todd, whom he fell in love with. Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd were married on Nov. 4, 1842.
Abraham Lincoln started to run for political office. He got popular and finally became the 16th President of the United States in March of 1861. But he had a difficult job because the northern and the southern states (called the Union and Confederacy) had split.
The reasons the north and south split included violent disagreements about slavery, the economy and the rights of states to govern themselves. Northern and southern armies started to have battles. In July of 1861, the first major battle of the Civil War took place in Manassas.
On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which declared slaves were free.
In 1864, Lincoln was elected to serve as President again. He worked hard to bring peace and reunite the country.
The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865. Five days later, Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at the Ford Theater in Washington, D.C. Lincoln was taken to the Petersen House across the street from Ford’s Theater, where he eventually died at 7:22 a.m. April 15, 1865.
Abraham Lincoln is remembered as one of the greatest Presidents of the United States.