play mp3 sample: Johnny Appleseed
unison with letter chords – poem by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet – music by Mary Alice Amidon
In the Amidon’s book and CD A Song in My Heart. Mary Alice sings and plays banjo on the recording with Sam Amidon on fiddle and Peter Amidon on piano. Mary Alice found this poem in a book called “Best Loved Poems of the American People”. You get a pdf of a vocal score with letter chords. Here is a wonderful picture book of the poem. Johnny Appleseed AKA Jonathan Chapman was a living legend.
by Stephen & Rosemary Vincent Benet
Of Jonathan Chapman, two things are known
That he loved apples, that he walked alone.
At 70 odd he was gnarled as could be
But ready and sound as a good apple tree.
For fifty years over of harvest and dew,
He planted his apples where no apples grew.
The winds of the prairie might blow through his rags,
But he carried his seeds in the best deerskin bags.
From old Ashtabula to frontier Fort Wayne,
He planted and pruned and he planted again.
He had not a hat to encumber his head.
He wore a tin pan on his white hair instead.
He nested with owl and with bear cub and possum,
And knew all his orchards; root, tendril and blossom.
A fine old man, as ripe as a pippin,
His heart still light and his step still skipping.
The stalking Indian, the beast in its lair
Did no hurt while he was there.
For they could tell, as all things can,
That Jonathan Chapman was God’s own man.
Why did he do it? We do not know.
He wishes that apples might root and grow.
He has no statue, he has no tomb;
He has his apple trees still in bloom.
Consider, consider, think well upon,
The marvelous story of Appleseed John.