Saturday, March 19, 2016

Picked Up the Phone!


“Called world to quarrel. No answer.”

This my six-word bio, a reference to Robert Frost’s epitah—“I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.” But today, lo and behold, the world answered!

Sometime back in the 80’s, I wrote a little piece called the Earth Day Rap. It attracted a sliver of attention, made it into some textbook in Australia and again in the textbook I worked on in 1991, McMillan-McGraw’s Hill’s Share the Music. It is a classic in our school repertoire and recently, an 8th grade won a little short film contest using this as a soundtrack.

I’ve spent a lifetime cultivating a point of view about how we mortal beings might pass our brief candle-flicker time here on this great green earth in a happier and more friendly way and get to stand up on a soapbox in my classes, my workshops, my books, my blog, Facebook, what have you. But the choir almost always is in my congregation and the audiences more café size than Superdome. Like most of us, I’m a spectator in a national discourse, a commentator far on the sideline hungry to get on to the main stage.

So yesterday, I met a dear friend in downtown Tokyo and she told me how she went online to try to remember the words to my Earth Day Rap and found some right-wing commentator telling the story of a parent’s outrage that it was performed by the kids in her school. My name wasn’t attached to it, but nevertheless, it was a thrill to see how I had caused some trouble! I (the rap) was accused of indoctrinating children with radical left-wing ideology and promoting junk science and one of the proofs was that Earth Day that year fell on Lenin’s birthday. “Coincidence? We think not!” Also hearterning to see that the school defended the teacher’s right to use it and cited its presence in a state-approved textbook (Hooray Share the Music!) as proof of its legitimacy.

It could have been depressing, reading the twisted logic of the Right’s warped thinking, but mostly I was thrilled to have been the cause of controversy. My rap dialed the World to quarrel and surprise, for once, it picked up!

Read it yourself at:



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