For the weekly #authorstory feature at Blogger's World, 10th February 2016, I gave an impromptu reading selected verses from Helen Keller's 'Song of the Stone Wall', published in 1910. This is a transcript of the reading of this selection, as an abridged or condensedarrangement, maintaining the integrity of each selected verse with no omission of lines, words or phrases within each verse. I made the audio recording to offer a taster or 'snapshot' of the full poem, whichis quite long for people with short attention spans. I also made this recording to perhaps assist accessibility in this one very small way for visually or cognitively impaired readers. The transcript is provided for learners, for reading along with the audio file andhearing impaired people, who may be unable to access the spoken version in the audio file. There were a small few stumbles or stutters in my audio recording that have not been transcribed. My introductory and closing remarks for the reading also have not been included inthis transcript, as there is similar written already on the blog post containing the audio file of my reading of this work: https://blogging101alumni.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/authors-who-made-history-helen-keller/ This document and the content at that post are copyright for personal and education use only (2016) N.B: free online sources for the full text of this document are listed at the end of the transcripted selection.
Song of the Stone Wall, (published 1910) by Helen Keller (1880-1968)
With searching feet I walk beside the wall;
I plunge and stumble over the fallen stones;
I follow the windings of the wall
Over the heaving hill, down by the meadow-brook,
Beyond the scented fields, by the marsh where rushes grow.
On I trudge through pine woods fragrant and cool
And emerge amid clustered pools and by rolling acres of rye.
The wall is builded of field-stones great and small,
Tumbled about by frost and storm,
Shaped and polished by ice and rain and sun;
Some flattened, grooved, and chiseled
By the inscrutable sculpture of the weather;
Some with clefts and rough edges harsh to the touch.
Gracious Time has glorified the wall
And covered the historian stones with a mantle of green.
Sunbeams flit and waver in the rifts,
Vanish and reappear, linger and sleep,
Conquer with radiance the obdurate angles,
Filter between the naked rents and wind-bleached jags.
I understand the triumph and the truth
Wrought into these walls of rugged stone.
They are a miracle of patient hands,
They are a victory of suffering, a paean of pain;
All pangs of death, all cries of birth,
Are in the mute, moss-covered stones;
They are eloquent to my hands.
O beautiful, blind stones, inarticulate and dumb!
In the deep gloom of their hearts there is a gleam
Of the primeval sun which looked upon them
When they were begotten.
So in the heart of man shines forever
A beam from the everlasting sun of God.
Rude and unresponsive are the stones;
Yet in them divine things lie concealed;
I hear their imprisoned chant:—
The apple-tree by the wall sheds its blossom about me—
A shower of petals of light upon darkness.
From Natures brimming cup I drink a thousand scents;
At noon the wizard sun stirs the hot soil under the pines.
I take the top stone of the wall in my hands
And the sun in my heart;
I feel the rippling land extend to right and left,
Bearing up a receptive surface to my uncertain feet;
I clamber up the hill and beyond the grassy sweep;
I encounter a chaos of tumbled rocks.
Piles of shadow they seem, huddling close to the land.
Here they are scattered like sheep,
Or like great birds at rest,
There a huge block juts from the giant wave of the hill.
At the foot of the aged pines the maidens moccasins
Track the sod like the noiseless sandals of Spring.
Out of chinks in the wall delicate grasses wave,
As beauty grew out of the crannies of these hard souls.
I am kneeling on the odorous earth;
The sweet, shy feet of Spring come tripping oer the land,
Winter is fled to the hills, leaving snowy wreaths
On apple-tree, meadow, and marsh.
The walls are astir; little waves of blue
Run through my fingers murmuring:
We follow the winds and the snow!
Their heart is a cup of gold.
Soft whispers of showers and flowers
Are mingled in the spring song of the walls.
Hark to the songs that go singing like the wind
Through the chinks of the wall and thrill the heart
And quicken it with passionate response!
The walls sing the song of wild bird, the hoof-beat of deer,
The murmur of pine and cedar, the ripple of many streams;
Crows are calling from the Druidical wood;
The morning mist still haunts the meadows
Like the ghosts of the wall builders.
[The poem continues through to verse 24.]
This transcript is of the audio file, my reading excerpts, as a kind of abridged ‘taster’, for shorter attention spans, including mine. It is possible that even one visually impaired person might enjoy listening to a human voice rather than a software generated automatic voice.
The full text can be read or downloaded at the Gutenberg project (- where it can even be downloaded as a free Kindle file, or other sorts of text file options- the full document is in the public domain but please read the terms contained in the Gutenberg document for full detail of how these files may be used);
A sample of a different selection of four verses from the whole poem can be read online at AFB (American Foundation for the Blind).
Other resource links and further reading are provided on my post at Blogger’s World.