Split This Rock mourns the loss of Pete Seeger, folk singer, organizer, voice for all of us in the struggle for justice. We celebrate his extraordinary life and courage.
Below, we are proud to republish a poem in Pete's honor by 2012 featured poet Kathy Engel. Please feel free to pass it on.
A radio documentary of Pete's life is here.
From an interview on Democracy Now! -
AMY GOODMAN: And for someone who isn’t so hopeful, who is listening to this right now, trying to find their way, what would you say?
PETE SEEGER: Realize that little things lead to bigger things. That’s what Seeds is all about. And this wonderful parable in the New Testament: the sower scatters seeds. Some seeds fall in the pathway and get stamped on, and they don’t grow. Some fall on the rocks, and they don’t grow. But some seeds fall on fallow ground, and they grow and multiply a thousand fold. Who knows where some good little thing that you’ve done may bring results years later that you never dreamed of?
— Interview, Democracy Now, May 4, 2009
Dad, Pete and Obama
When Pete sang at the Lincoln Memorial I called to ash.
I had played Pete as your last breath slipped out,
the rest of you already gone.
Pete ushered you; your hero sang for the man
whose name you spoke the week you died:
Obama, you said, sipping water,
I believe something is happening, don’t you?
Pete with his grandson who lived in
the country we loved in its burning birth, Pete
who wouldn’t testify, Pete Civil Rights, Pete Peace,
Pete 1199, Pete this land, our land—
Pete Clearwater, Pete and Toshi, Pete and
Brother Kirkpatrick, Pete and June reading poems
at the UN Rally circa 1983, Pete the unwavering
for all who were taken, all who picketed and as Pete said
for the young people who taught us not to be afraid
Montgomery sit-in days, Pete in his power,
in the place of power, suspenders and banjo, train
chug of workers belting out a new old gusty day, ghosts
of resistance swaying past the monument, feeding
the hungry crowd, this day when Pete sang
at the Lincoln Memorial I called to you
who took a bus alone to D.C. at 80 to protest:
I called to your ash, Dad, who took me there first.
Kathy Engel 2009
Originally published in Adanna. Used by permission.