By William Ernest Henley Read by Marshall Robinson, English Teacher
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
Introduction to Poetry
By Billy Collins
Read By Dr. Michael Riendeau, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
By Nikki Giovanni
Read by Dr. Michael Riendeau, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs
her grandmother called her from the playground
“i want chu to learn how to make rolls” said the old
but the little girl didn’t want
to learn how because she knew
even if she couldn’t say it that
that would mean when the old one died she would be less
dependent on her spirit so
“i don’t want to know how to make no rolls”
with her lips poked out
and the old woman wiped her hands on
her apron saying “lord
and neither of them ever
said what they meant
and i guess nobody ever does
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
Written By Eric Bogle
Read By Jane Alwis, History teacher
When I was a young man I carried me pack And I lived the free life of the rover From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback I waltzed my Matilda all over Then in 1915 my country said: Son, It's time to stop rambling, there's work to be done So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun And they sent me away to the war
And the band played Waltzing Matilda When the ship pulled away from the quay And amid all the tears, flag waving and cheers We sailed off for Gallipoli
It well I remember that terrible day When our blood stained the sand and the water And how in that hell they call Suvla Bay We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter Johnny Turk, he was ready, he primed himself well He rained us with bullets, and he showered us with shell And in five minutes flat, we were all blown to hell He nearly blew us back home to Australia
And the band played Waltzing Matilda When we stopped to bury our slain Well we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs Then it started all over again
Oh those that were living just tried to survive In that mad world of blood, death and fire And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive While around me the corpses piled higher Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head And when I awoke in me hospital bed And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead I never knew there was worse things than dying
Oh no more I'll go Waltzing Matilda All around the green bush far and near For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs No more waltzing Matilda for me
They collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed And they shipped us back home to Australia The armless, the legless, the blind and the insane Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay I looked at the place where me legs used to be And thank Christ there was no one there waiting for me To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the Band played Waltzing Matilda When they carried us down the gangway Oh nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared Then they turned all their faces away
Now every April I sit on my porch And I watch the parade pass before me I see my old comrades, how proudly they march Renewing their dreams of past glories I see the old men all tired, stiff and worn Those weary old heroes of a forgotten war And the young people ask "What are they marching for?" And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda And the old men still answer the call But year after year, their numbers get fewer Someday, no one will march there at all
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me? And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong So who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?