George Washington Carver


Legend of the Gourds

Beside a silvery babbling brook,
O'er hung by many a shady nook,
A little group, perchance was seen,
To cluster on the verdure green

With magic hand a fairy maid
Just o'er our heads a wand displayed,
In slumber thus we lay and dreamed
That things were often what they seemed.

A wafting breeze did a kindly deed,
And lay at our feet a tiny seed,
heaven its dew upon it shed,
As there it lay on its earthly bed.

The sun his glory upon it lent,
And many a sparkling sunbeam sent,
We watched, and to our surprise
The seed began to grow in size.

At last the seed coat burst in twain
Still fostered by the sun and rain,
One day a tender little root appeared,
So frail that for its life we feared.

Many, many rootlets from this grew,
Just the number no one knew,
When at last it had a firm foot-hold,
Some monstrous leaves we saw unfold.

To some object near it always clung,
But into empty space it never swung,
Many came from far and near,
To see this plant we held so dear.

From night 'til morn, from morn 'til night,
Through all the land, both far and wide,
To every nation they're supplied.

Some weary traveler on business fraught,
Is oft' refreshed by a cooling draught,
From the crystal icy murmuring spring,
Held by this grand old gourd of which we sing.

You doubtless know the legend old,
Of which I'm sure you've oft been told,
That water is never half so sweet
As that which is held by this cup so neat.

Go from palace to hut, and where'r you will
Our gourd is there, its mission to fill,
At the festive board it rests content,
In history's light 'tis not exempt.

Withdraws the wand doth the fairy maids,
And from our eyes the vision fades
Uprising from our lowly seats,
Each the vision oft repeats.

Through glen and glade through hill and grotto
Long searched we for a motto,
"Ever climbing" seemed so fitting,
That we all agreed in just one sitting.

In work and play in wholesome fun,
this motto in our actions run,
When called upon to assert our rights,
We were always topmost in the fights.

Upward it grows to a daring height.
With wonder, awe, and thought sublime
We rejoice to see it ever climb.

Through sunshine and shadow, wind and rain,
onward and upward, still the same,
Perchance our vine one morning seek,
and venture now to take a peep,

See, O! See at once for sure we knew,
That buds from each little branchlet grew,
No perfume it scattered on the desert waste,
As each sepal opened so pure and chaste. 

Wondrous fruit of all size and kinds,
To suit the most fastidious minds,
The people 'round with rapture roared,
Ho, see those green and worthless gourds.

Our hearts within us seemed to sink,
As we see and know what the people think,
Upward, onward ever climbing,
Closer 'round some object twining.

Alas! be this all and nothing more,
We ask ourselves o'er and o'er.
One day the fruit mature in size,
Hung wondrous thick before our eyes.

Some thrifty merchants from afar,
Heavily ladened many a car,
From North to South from East to West,
These gourds were sent to places best.

*Many made some measure prime,
Others held the sucrose fine,
And when the chimney tall and straight,
our motto gently stood in wait,
While some smeared and daubed the paint
To a dizzy height, they thought they'd faint.

*Some so light and dizzy grew,
They put their figures wrong side to,
After all seemed satisfied,
And arms akimbo, hands in side.

Up comes the class of '94,
Onward, upward still they soar,
Landing on the pinnacle high,
The gourd with motto greets the eye.

Full four years have come and flown,
The seeds for many a harvest are sown,
From North to South, from belt to belt,
We hope to make our presence felt.

The mission lands 'cross the far off sea,
The lot is cast for some to be,
To teach some wayward souls the way,
others in this country stay.

When the "Lord of the harvest" shall call for his own,
The golden grain from the seeds were sown,
We'll take him as talents one by one,
and Trust he may say to us well done.




Umbra African American Link