Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet, artist

Hannah enjoying poetry workshop

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Hanging with fellow Georgia writers (from top, l-r) Tracy Walker, Heather Kolich, Donna Bowman, (bottom, middle) Janice Hardy and Paula Puckett
photo by Steve Kolich

Susan Rosson Spain, Robyn Hood Black, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Myra Meade at the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Ga.
photo by Mel Hornsby

Southern Breeze Kudos Kites 09 - Donna, Robyn, Heather, Sarah, and Peggy

Robyn with Kathleen Duey, author extraordinaire

Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller

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Paul B. Janeczko

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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Young America by Julia M. Dana

November 30, 2017

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, America, history, ponderings, Young America, Julia M. Dana

Poetry Friday Greetings!

This week, the news left me feeling heavy, again, and dashing off yet another letter to a Senator, explaining that while I appreciate his email survey/solicitation of feedback re. the tax bill, none of that will matter an iota if a big chunk of the world gets blown up because of recklessness. Maybe not quite enough sleep has me overreacting.

I craved something lighter to share, and stumbled upon this offering, one of the "brilliant gems of song" in my book, Among the Poets - The Best Poems by the Best Authors, selected by A. A. Smith (J. A. Ruth & Co., Philadelphia and Chicago, 1886). The book makes me smile, with its ornate cover, fancy type, and still-shiny gilded edges. It's one of the few in my studio that's safe from my, um, repurposing....

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the poem, which I found uncomfortably relevant. Make of it what you will. [I was not able to uncover biographical details about the poet except other publishing credits, some in children's publications. But if Julia were around today, I'd love to meet her for tea!]

           Young America
            by Julia M. Dana

"Come hither, you madcap darling!"
      I said to my four-year-old.
Pray what shall be done to the bad, bad girl
      Who will not do as she's told?
Too well you love your own wee way,
      While little you love to mind;
But mamma knows what is best for you,
"And isn't she always kind?"

So I told her of "Casabianca,"
And the fearful burning ship.
"Do you think," said I, "such a child as that
      His mother would have to whip?"
And my heart went out with the story and
      of the boy so nobly brave,
Who would not dare to disobey,
      Even his life to save.

Then her eyes grew bright as the morning,
      And they seemed to look me through.
Ah - ah, thought I, you understand
      The lesson I have in view.
"Now what do you think of this lad, my love?"
      Tell all that is in your heart."
"I fink," she said, "he was drefful good,
      But he wasn't the least bit smart."

Note - The poem "Casabianca" recounts a story (based on a historical incident) of the young son of a French commander, who would not abandon his post when the ship caught fire without a command from his father, and - died. Wikipedia says the poem was standard fare for schoolchildren in the UK and the US for a hundred years, until the 1950s. (Whew - I was barely spared by a decade or two!)

Speaking of tea, wouldn't you know Mary Lee at A Year of Reading has some ready for us, over at the Roundup? Thanks, Mary Lee!


  1. November 30, 2017 10:13 PM EST
    Still gilded pages & ornate typeface! You were the intended owner for this historical treasure, Robyn.

    The poem is a hoot. And my thinking is that the poet's last name is a literary one , perhaps a relation to Richard Henry Dana. . .

    Appreciations for your good citizenship in these crucial times . . .
    - Jan/Bookseedstudio
  2. November 30, 2017 10:35 PM EST
    Hellooo, Dear Jan! You've been on my mind. Thanks for all the warm thoughts, and I'll bet you're right... dates, literary life - though I can't find a definitive connection, that makes sense! Thanks for the pointer to an important family. :0)
    - Robyn Black
  3. November 30, 2017 11:01 PM EST
    They sure knew how to make books in the olden days! Embossing and gilding--stunning. Thanks for sharing this treasure and one of its poems.
    - Diane Mayr
  4. November 30, 2017 11:05 PM EST
    I know you appreciate all that, Diane! Glad to share. :0)
    - Robyn Black
  5. December 1, 2017 9:25 AM EST
    Thanks for the smile, Robyn. :) Such a fun poem to read and share. Don't you just love that girl's young, honest voice at the end? So sweet.
    - Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
  6. December 1, 2017 9:43 AM EST
    It is nice to think that people will make wise decisions, isn't it? I hold tight to that.
    Beautiful book, Robyn!!
    - Tabatha
  7. December 1, 2017 10:21 AM EST
    I'd like to think that lessons come from other things these days, but the poem certainly gives us pause, a mother's lesson from long ago. I have a few books like that, and nearly all the poems are meant to 'educate'. We all are worried, Robyn, and trying hard to DO something. Thanks for sharing your lovely book.
    - Linda Baie
  8. December 1, 2017 10:47 AM EST
    What a gorgeous book, and a pome to make me smile. Thank you, Robyn!
    - Tara
  9. December 1, 2017 12:09 PM EST
    Those last lines made me laugh! Thank you for sharing an antidote to the news this week.
    - Kay McGriff
  10. December 1, 2017 4:59 PM EST
    This is the best. I love the last couple of lines. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face.
    - jone
  11. December 1, 2017 5:01 PM EST
    Thanks for sharing this, Robyn! It is so interesting how relevant some poetry remains.
    - Becky Shillington
  12. December 1, 2017 5:07 PM EST
    Thanks for the bit of antiquity today, Robyn. Was nice to be transported to another time with some light fare. Glad you're not going to repurpose that book -- such a treasure.
    - jama
  13. December 2, 2017 5:39 AM EST
    Ha! The poem....surely written by a parent in a wry mood is funny. What's not so funny is waking up to the news this morning. Oh, America. I shake my head in disbelief at what you've allowed to become and to happen. It's all so wrong.
    - Linda Mitchell
  14. December 2, 2017 9:06 AM EST
    Howdy, Michelle! I do love that voice. And feel I would get along fine with that poet! ;0)

    Tabatha, I'll hold tight to that, too. Glad to share this gilded treasure.

    Thanks for coming by, Linda. One thing I loved about this poem was that the wee little lass (well, poet through the youngster) turned the 'education' part on its head at the very end, right there in the 1800s!

    Glad you enjoyed, Tara! :0)

    I'm happy this gave you a chuckle, Kay - I just made my hubby read it and he laughed out loud.

    Jone, you have a lovely smile, so I'm glad this little bit brought out yours. :0)

    Hi, Becky - I love that about these old poems. Thanks for swinging by!

    Jama, I've gone to the dark side, but even I have my limits. ;0) Happy you enjoyed this romp this week.

    Hi, Linda M - I do worry, as Linda B says, but the Poetry Friday community always elevates my outlook. Thanks for being a kindred spirit miles away.
    - Robyn Black
  15. December 3, 2017 2:34 PM EST
    Thanks for the chuckle. This poet got it right...down to the lisp!
    - Mary Lee
  16. December 3, 2017 7:51 PM EST
    Glad you enjoyed, Mary Lee. Thanks for hosting, and for rounding up hosts, too! :0)
    - Robyn Black
  17. December 4, 2017 8:18 AM EST
    Thanks for the smile. It's what the world needs!
    - Sally Murphy
  18. December 4, 2017 8:51 AM EST
    Amen, Sally - no matter which side of the world we're on! :0)
    - Robyn Black
  19. December 6, 2017 7:29 PM EST
    Fun poem Robyn and kinda bleak background material–the young officer's son. Maybe we should use some of that on our current politicians, it probably wouldn't do any good though. Thanks for the poem and for writing your Senator!
    - Michelle Kogan
  20. December 6, 2017 10:39 PM EST
    Thanks, Michelle - I called a Representative today about a couple other things (net neutrality, which could affect us Etsy folk, the Arctic refuge, etc. ...) - Sigh. Thanks for coming by!
    - Robyn Black
  21. December 7, 2017 8:47 PM EST
    As the mom of a Julia, I must say, I adore this poem. Not just spunky Julia's personality, but also the voice of the mother -- part firm and part amused by this pint-sized truth-sayer.
    - Laura Shovan
  22. December 7, 2017 9:10 PM EST
    Hi, Laura - glad this brought you a smile. :0) My mom, a generation and a couple of states away, enjoyed it too. It's timeless!
    - Robyn Black

Quick Clicks

bio, photos, interview links, etc.
Explore a poem or two or five....
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
Author visits
In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
A rhyming tale of a young boy's knightly adventure with an imagined dragon.
Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!