Friday, May 22, 2015

Under the Freedom Tree

Finding an unknown bit of history is fascinating to me, especially when I realize I have even a small personal connection to it. As a teenager, I spent several summers with my aunt and uncle at Fort Monroe, Virginia. One of my most vivid recollections was the way all traffic stopped, both automotive and pedestrian, at the sound of the five o'clock reveille bugle. If you were in a car, you stopped in the middle of the road, opened your door, got out and stood at attention (hand over your heart if you were a civillian like me) until the bugler's call was done. Then life went on as usual. 

I recently read Susan Van Hecke's Under the Freedom Tree. It's a beautiful book, illustrated by London Ladd, published by Charlesbridge last year. Susan's lyrical picture book uses dramatic free verse to tell the story of three slaves who escaped a Confederate work team to cross the river to Fort Monroe. The author explains details of the story that couldn't be included in the short poem in her author's note. General Benjamin Butler, the Union commander, refused to return the three slaves to their Virginia masters because the state had seceeded from the Union just days before and declared them contraband of war. Others followed. Many others. They built the Grand Contraband Camp near what is today Hampton, Virginia. A missionary teacher, a free black from the North, came to the camp and taught the former slaves to read beneath a large, spreading oak tree. The celebration is contagious when a newly literate contraband reads the Emancipation Proclamation to the community. 

An excerpt from the book:

Days are for Union work,


Nights, they fall,
spent and hungry,
on cold dirt floors.

But here at Slabtown,
here at the Camp,
they are not
what they once were.

Matt Forest hosts the Poetry Friday Roundup at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Find Royalty Free Photos

Davy Jones' Door-Bell
By Vachel Linsday

A Chant for Boys with Manly Voices
(Every line sung one step deeper than the line preceding)

Any sky-bird sings,
Ring, ring!
Any church-chime rings,
Dong ding!
Any cannon says,
Boom bang!
Any whirlwind says,
Whing whang!
The bell-buoy hums and roars,
Ding dong!
And way down deep,
Where fishes throng,
By Davy Jones' big deep sea door,
Shaking the ocean's flowery floor,
His door-bell booms
Dong dong,
Dong dong,
Deep, deep down,
Clang boom,
Boom dong.

You're looking for the perfect photo for your blog. Or you need an image to get your creative juices running, but then you want to post the picture with the poem you wrote. You can search Google Images, but you may not always find attribution information or usage rights. Here is my list of go to photo research sites. 

• MorgueFile Access to iStock, Getty, Fotolia, and some other paid photos, but plenty of free ones in the morguefile.

• Pixabay  First row of photos are Shutterstock, but after that all are royalty free.

• Unsplash Subscribe for 10 photos every 10 days.

• Foter  Using the embed code automatically inserts attribution information.

• StockVault  Shutterstock photos in the black boxes, but lots of free photos.

PhotoPin -  Shutterstock will pop up first, but this site searches creative commons photos. 

Death to the Stock Photos - Sign up with email, delivered monthly.

PicJumbo - You can pay for the plugin, but lots of free images.

CompFight - Searches Flickr photos and provides embed code for attribution.

Gratisography Some wacky photos here, all free. Something will surely grab your eye here.

FreeImages Must set up a free account to download images. 

• Little Visuals Beautiful images captured by a young man who recently died. Option to donate to Hands on Heart Charity.

I hope this is a helpful list!

Diane hosts the roundup today at Random Noodling. Lots more poetry for your weekend.