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“Mango Poem”

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original works, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel. 

17th Infantry head for action in the Philippine Islands. (National Archives Identifier 533179)

17th Infantry head for action in the Philippine Islands. (National Archives Identifier 533179)

Today’s poem, “Mango Poem” by Regie Cabico, was inspired by documents within the National Archives related to the Philippine-American War (1899–1902).

After the United States defeated Spain in the 1898 Spanish-American War, Spain ceded the colony of the Philippines to the U.S. in the Treaty of Paris.

On February 4, 1899, just two days before the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty, fighting broke out between American troops and Filipino nationalists. Led by Emilio Aguinaldo, the nationalists wanted Philippine independence.

The Philippine-American War lasted three years. Approximately 125,000 American troops served. Of those, 4,200 were killed and 2,900 were wounded.

During the conflict, more than 20,000 Filipino troops were killed, and as many as 200,000 Filipino civilians died from violence, famine, and disease.

Despite a proclamation by President Theodore Roosevelt announcing the end to the war in 1902, intermittent fighting continued throughout America’s rule over the colony. In 1946 the Philippines gained independence from the United States.

Read our Prologue article for more information on records at the National Archives related to the Philippine-American War.

MANGO POEM

By Regie Cabico 

Mother fetches the fruit from the mango grove
…….behind closed bamboo.
…….Rips its paper-leather cover during midday recess,
before English class, describes their dance
peaches plums cantaloupes before my first-world
…….eyes. When the sun blazed on the dust,

she let the mellifluous fluids
…….fall on her assignment books.
Where the mangos were first planted, mother,
an infant, hid under gravel
swaddled by Lola, my grandmother,
after my mother’s aunt and uncle
were tied to the trunk
…….and stabbed
by the Japanese. Mother and daughter living off
…….fallen mangos, the pits planted in darkness,
…….before I was born.

We left the Philippines
…….for California dodging
U.S. Customs with the forbidden fruit,
…….thinking who’d deprive mother of her mangos.
Head down, my father denies that we have perishable
…….foods, waving passports in the still air,
motioning for us
…….to proceed towards the terminal.
Behind a long line of travelers,

my sisters surround mother
like shoji screens as she hides the newspaper-covered
…….fruit between her legs. Mangos sleeping
in the hammock of her skirt, a brilliant batik
…….billowing from the motion
of airline caddies pushing suitcases
…….on metal carts.

We walk around mother
…….forming a crucifix where she was center.
On the plane as we cross time zones, mom unwraps
her ripe mangos, the ones from the tree Lola planted
before she gave birth to my mother,

the daughter that left home to be a nurse
in the States,
…….who’d marry a Filipino navy man
…….and have three children of her own. Mother eating
the fruit whose juices rain
…….over deserts and cornfields


“In the Event”

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original work, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel.

"Original Wright Brothers 1903 Aeroplane (‘Kitty Hawk’) in first flight, December 17, 1903. (National Archives Identifier 7580929)

“Original Wright Brothers 1903 Aeroplane (‘Kitty Hawk’) in first flight, December 17, 1903. (National Archives Identifier 7580929)

Today’s poem, “In the Event” by Joshua Weiner, was inspired by a photograph of the Wright Brothers’ original aeroplane during its first flight in 1903.

Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright began experimenting with aviation in 1896 at their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. They first began with manned gliders and traveled to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1900 to test their crafts.

They chose Kitty Hawk because it had regular breezes and soft surfaces ideal for landing.

After multiple successful flights with the glider, they decide explore the possibility of engine powered aircraft. They designed and built their own craft, and on December 17, 1903, Orville piloted the first powered airplane.

This photo, taken by John T. Daniel of the Life-Saving Service, documented that historic first flight. Orville and his plane soared 20 feet above the beach. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet of ground.

The original caption reads: Original Wright Brothers’ 1903 Aeroplane (“Kitty Hawk”) in first flight, December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, N.C. Orville Wright at controls. Wilbur Wright standing at right. (first flight was 12 seconds).

Because the Wright brothers came in contact with multiple government agencies, the National Archives holdings include many significant records relating to their efforts in early aviation.

Agencies such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Life-Saving Service, the U.S. Army Signal Corps, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the U.S. Weather Bureau, and the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics are all held within the National Archives nationwide holdings.


In the Event

By Joshua Weiner

If you are sitting in an exit row please identify yourself to a crew member to allow for reseating if you lack the ability to read, speak, or understand the language, or the graphic form, or the ability to understand oral crew commands in the language specified. You maybe understand this but will you understand how to comply with these instructions, the instructions of our crew, who are fully authorized, and all the illuminated signs posted throughout the cabin?  Please locate them now.

If you are sitting in an exit row and unlikely if needed to perform one or more of the applicable functions then you must de-select yourself because only you know, finally, if you lack sufficient mobility, strength, dexterity to reach, grasp, push, pull, turn, shove, lift out, hold, deposit nearby, maneuver over the seatbacks to the next row objects the size and weight of over-wing window door exits, remove, reach, maintain, balance, stabilize, exit, and assist others.

You may lack capacities, have conditions, or be otherwise compromised, for example if you are traveling with a pet container that contains a service animal or emotional support animal. You may feel yourself supportive, and of course that’s good, super, if you can perform the functions: locate, recognize, comprehend, operate, assess, follow, stow, secure, pass expeditiously, deploy, select, but most of all you need to want to, and if you do not no reason need be given, because what reason is there to not want to help on this long flight should something go wrong, terribly, obviously, or subtly, as when you ask for water and no water arrives then you haven’t been heard, Wilbur is lost to the frise aileron, the flight cannot in your mind continue, I mean you cannot adjust the airflow, temperature, cargo storage space is limited to what it is, there’s no room for more.

But why isn’t there? says Orville. Space is infinite, the limits of the plane are inside us as we are inside nowhere luggage shifting around the bags inside bags making, in fact, more room: ‘clarification through expansion’ writes the soul in paraphrase, and even as you make a very short turn, you never feel the sensation of being thrownbut find yourself facing where you started from. The objects on the ground seem to be moving fasterthough you perceive no change in the force of the wind on your face. You know then you are traveling with the wind, the capacity of the ordinary opening beyond belief.

If you put your hand to the window now you feel the deep cold out there where no one is no one wants to be or can be even and this we know before experience and the expertise of those who learn from manuals you’ve never held, never located, recognized, assessed, or followed. You may think that to help anyone you must be with no one that requires your care you must be willing to do all of these things by yourself and without harming yourself to be able to reach up, sideways, and down.

But your condition is not the event of an evacuation, but rather the capacities you lack to be an emotional animal going somewhere a great distance, past every echelon, to a place without command; an elevation, a knowledge, a knack tuning the instrument to its final pitch & yaw.  When you look out the window what do you see?  The plane is probably flying level. But should the pilot find himself unable, or you do, you can take control by reaching over and holding the yoke in such a manner that miniature wings in the indicator stay parallel with the artificial horizon.  Pulling back will send you higher where feeling becomes pronounced. That’s okay, lift should be equal, the door won’t open even if you yank on it due to the pressure. Soon enough however, but not too soon; dream flowers drawn by moving veils is power (though naught be fairer than a dying nebula). With time you understand, there are stars in the universe cold enough to be touched by the human hand.

 


“The Documents”

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original work, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel. 

Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, 2014. <br> (Photo by Jeff Reed)

Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, 2014.
(Photo by Jeff Reed)

Today’s poem, “The Documents” by Terence Winch, was inspired by his visit to the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.

The National Archives collects, preserves, and makes available the official documents created by the U.S. Government. These records help us claim our rights and entitlements as citizens; they help us hold our elected officials accountable for their actions; and they help document our history as a nation.

The National Archives Museum offers visitors many opportunities to view and interpret our government’s records.

In the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, visitors can be inspired by our nation’s founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights, which are on permanent display.

In the Rubenstein Gallery, visitors can explore the “Records of Rights” exhibit to learn how Americans sought to fulfill the promises our founding documents or see a rare copy of the Magna Carta.

Or, walk through the Public Vaults exhibit for a behind-the-scenes look at the original documents housed in stacks and vaults of the National Archives.

Not in Washington? The National Archives has over 40 locations nationwide—visit our website to plan your trip.

The Documents

By Terence Winch

The Documents are weeping, fading,
fearing the worst.

They are the messages
that keep coming.
They are promises, dreams, hymns,
i.o.u.’s. Proclamations.
Declarations.

They are word-flags.
Language
security blankets.

You could wrap yourself
in their giant pages.

They want to tell us who we are
or who we should want to be.

They are sails made of speech.

You could navigate
the vessel of your inner life
with their words propelling you along to the horizon.

The Documents tell their stories
over and over, even when you’re asleep,
even when the dark government temple
where they are entombed has shut
down for the night. The Documents never
tire, never shut down. They never expire.

They keep up their endless arguments,
hoping to be heard. Take heart, they insist.
Resist your worst impulses. Fight on,
even against invincible power. Listen
to what we have to tell you, they say, ancient,
faint, yet stronger than a wall ten miles thick.


Virtual Genealogy Fair, October 28–30, 2014

Learn Genealogy from the Comfort of Your Own Home: The 2014 Virtual Genealogy Fair, October 2830, 2014

Today’s post comes from Rebecca K. Sharp, Archives Specialist at the National Archives in Washington, DC. 

Why did the chicken need glasses? Find out by tuning into "Patently Amazing: Finding Your Family in Patent Records" at 3:00 PM EDT on Thursday, October 30, 2014.   (National Archives Identifier 7460045)

Why did the chicken need glasses? Find out by tuning into “Patently Amazing: Finding Your Family in Patent Records” at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Thursday, October 30.
(National Archives Identifier 7460045)

Was your ancestor a drayman (cart driver), a hod carrier (a laborer who carried supplies to stone masons or bricklayers), a huckster (peddler), an ostler (a groom or stable hand), or a spinster (an unmarried woman)?

Discover the answers to these questions and much more through genealogical research.

Whether you are beginning your research or are an experienced genealogist, tune in to the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) Virtual Genealogy Fair.

This three-day online event will be held October 2830. It’s free, and registration is not needed. Real-time captioning will be available for all sessions through Streamtext.

Our speakers include staff from NARA research facilities nationwide highlighting the holdings of the National Archives at Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; College Park, Maryland; Denver, Colorado; Fort Worth, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; and Washington, DC.

Guest speakers include the Historian from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and representatives from genealogical websites.

When Saying “I Do”… Find out more on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at Noon EDT.

“When Saying ‘I Do’… “: Find out more on Tuesday, October 28,  at noon (Eastern Time). (Image from the Library of Congress)

We will have 17 lectures on a variety of topics including: an introduction to Federal records of a genealogical interest; how to preserve family records; NARA’s “Researching American Indians and Alaska Natives” web pages; NARA’s Access to Archival Databases; citizenship records; land records; patent records; military records; documenting aliens during times of war; Freedom of Information Act requests for FBI case files; and genealogical websites.

Participants will be able to submit questions via Twitter using #genfair2014.

Since we have a very tight schedule, the speaker may not be able to answer all of the questions during the allotted 10-minute Q & A session. Please send any remaining questions to inquire@nara.gov.

We will be updating the 2014 Virtual Genealogy Fair website leading up to and after the fair.

When a speaker grants us permission, we will post handouts, PowerPoint slides, and links to the archived video of the lecture on this website. Archived footage of the lectures will be available on the fair’s website by the end of November.

Mark your calendars for October 28-30!

NARA Genie Fair flyer

 


Three Mathew Brady Photographs

In celebration of American Archives Month, the National Archives is teaming up with the Academy of American Poets. Throughout the month we’ll be publishing original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. To view the poets performing their original work, visit the National Archives YouTube Channel. 

Confederate dead behind stone wall. The 6th. Maine Inf. penetrated the Confederate lines at this point. Fredericksburg, VA, 1863. (National Archives Identifier 524930)

Confederate dead behind stone wall. The 6th. Maine Inf. penetrated the Confederate lines at this point. Fredericksburg, VA, 1863. (National Archives Identifier 524930)

Today we have three poems by Eric Pankey, who was inspired by Mathew Brady’s Civil War–era photographs.

Noted photographer Mathew Brady and his associates produced several thousand photographs of battlefields, towns, and people affected by the Civil War.

Among the various scenes the photographers captured were these haunting images related to the Battle of Chancellorsville.

The Battle of Chancellorsville took place between April 30 and May 6, 1863, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. The battle saw Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s 60,000 men face Union Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s Army of the Potomac, who had more than double in force.

Despite an unlikely Confederate victory, the Confederates sustained heavy losses.

Brady shocked many people when he displayed images of dead soldiers from the battle of Antietam the previous year. Americans were unaccustomed to seeing the reality of war.

Although many photos in the National Archives are attributed to Brady, many were taken by others under his supervision. When Brady published photographs from his collection, he credited them with his own name whether or not he actually took the photograph.

The National Archives has digitized over 6,000 photographs of Civil War–era personalities and scenes taken by Mathew Brady and his associates. These images can be viewed in our online catalog and on our Flickr page.

THREE MATHEW BRADY PHOTGRAPHS

by Eric Pankey

1. CONFEDERATE DEAD BEHIND A STONE WALL AT FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA

Where the glass negative broke:
A silky, liquid black,
Like spilled scrivener’s ink,
Pools in the print’s margin.

: :

Mouth gone slack, eyes upward,
Face glazed with blood, the man—
Lifeless, slumped, and tangled
In a tarp—looks for God.

: :

Two leafless trees hold up
A scratched sky’s leaden weight.
Autumn? Winter? No wind
To sway the upright trees.

: :

Such a long exposure
To affix the fallen,
(Staged or happened upon,)
Abandoned to this ditch.

Wilderness, near Chancellorsville, Virginia, 1963. (National Archives Identifier 524447)

Wilderness, near Chancellorsville, Virginia, 1963. (National Archives Identifier 524447)

 

2.WILDERNESS, NEAR CHANCELLORSVILLE, VIRGINIA

It is a slow process:
fallen and standing trees,
Propped, bent, a clutter of intersections—

All moss- and lichen-ridden,
woodpecker pecked,
Bored by grubs, antler-scraped, bark rubbed free—

Hard to tell from the decay
the living from the dead,
The dead from the almost dead—

A tree—
horizontal across the creek,
Uprooted when a flash flood cut the cut-bank—

Still leaves, blossoms, bears fruit.
Without a buttress,

A long dead sycamore remains upright.

 

Burying Confederate dead, Fredericksburg, VA, 1863. (National Archives Identifier 524749)

Burying Confederate dead, Fredericksburg, VA, 1863. (National Archives Identifier 524749)

 

3. BURYING THE CONFEDERATE DEAD AT FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA

Jesus said, Let the dead bury the dead.

Two caskets and five or six canvas-
Covered bodies wait beside a trench
Three black men have spent all day digging.

Given their druthers, they’d obey scripture.