Symphony, they call it
music that wraps its arms around us
because we listen, feel,smell, see

Perhaps it’s wind we can see
percussion we feel
bow strings we stretch and tune, bend and clip
and brass we mold, shape, file and weld

The farmer is a visiting conductor
a concert master too
finely trained, taught and taut,
anxious for beginnings
plantings, tendings, and grand harvest finales

He steps up, raises his arms
eyes sweeping across all instruments, all players,
Stop! tap! tap! Tap! the baton on the stand…
an electric Attention! Attencion! Fait attention!

With his arms, his hands,
indeed his whole body, whole being
he sets the orchestra in motion

Close your eyes and listen, imagine
springtime, raindrops pinging
wind blowing gently, stronger, stronger
rising, then falling
The sun after the rain
the smell of fresh earth
the hum of a tractor coming along
little noises from the planter, slipping seeds
into mother earth

The music of our prairie
gifting food to a hungry world…

Lin, January 2014

(and now Denise Yates, singing:)

By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O’er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo on the breeze.
Rustling through the leafy trees, and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,
And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.

Eighteen-eighteen saw your founding, Illinois, Illinois,
And your progress is unbounding, Illinois, Illinois,
Pioneers once cleared the lands,
Where great industries now stand. World renown you do command, Illinois, Illinois,
World renown you do command, Illinois.

From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,
Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,
Till upon the inland sea,
Stands thy great commercial tree, turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,
Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.

When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,
Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,
When the Southern host withdrew,
Pitting Gray against the Blue, there were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois.

Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation’s glory, Illinois, Illinois,
On the record of thy years,
Abraham Lincoln’s name appears, Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois.

Let us pledge in final chorus, Illinois, Illinois
That in struggles still before us, Illinois, Illinois
To our heroes we’ll be true,
As their vision we pursue. In abiding love for you, Illinois, Illinois.
In abiding love for you, Illinois.

Chamberlain and Johnston, the Illinois state song.