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Listening to the land a profile of a nation in terms of its living language this weak sense and sensitivity to the world. You're from the studios of W.H. y y in Philadelphia. We present listen to the land a program of American writings about America produced under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Now here is your host at narrator Richard S. Frederick. Those of us who are blessed with all five of our senses taste touch sight hearing and smell are all too prone to take them for granted until the blessings are isolated for us either by our observation of those less fortunate or through prose poetry or pictorial ization. And yet it is not always the literal delineation of the senses that impresses them upon its take the sense of hearing for example. Sometimes it is the complete absence of sound
that gives this particular sense its meaning. Edgar Lee Masters describes this feeling beautifully in his poem. Silence. I have known the silence of the stars and of the sea and the silence of the city when it pauses in the sight of a man in a maze and the silence which music alone finds the word in the silence of the words before the winds of Spring began in the silence of the sect when their eyes roam about the room and I ask for the depth of what uses language a beast of the field moans a few times when death takes its young and we are voiceless in the presence of reality. We cannot speak. A curious boy asks an old soldier sitting in front of the grocery store. How did you lose your leg. The old soldier was struck with silence or as mine flies away because he cannot
concentrate it on get his bird and it comes back to your closely and he says a bear about it off and the boy wonders why the old soldier dumbly feebly lives over the flashes of guns the thunder of cannon the shrieks of the slain and himself lying on the ground and the hospital surgeons the knives and the long days in bed. But if he could describe it at all he would be an artist. But if he were an artist there would be deeper wounds which he could not describe. There is the silence of a great hatred in the silence of the great love and the silence of a deep peace of mind and the silence of an embittered friendship or the silence of a spiritual crisis. So what you're so exquisitely tortured comes with visions not to be uttered into a round of higher life and the silence of the gods who understand each other without speaking. There is the silence of defeat. There is the silence of those unjustly
punished in the silence of the dying whose hand suddenly grips yours. There is the silence between father and son. When the father cannot explain his life even though he be misunderstood for it. There is the silence that comes between husband and wife. There is the silence of those who have failed and the vast silence that covers broken nations and vanquished leaders. There is the silence of Lincoln thinking of the poverty of his youth and the silence of Napoleon after Waterloo and the silence of a young dark saying amid the flames. Less said Jesus revealing in two words all sorrow all hope. And there is the silence of age too full of wisdom for the tongue to utter it in words intelligible to those who have not lived. The great range of life
and there is the silence of the dead. If we who are in life cannot speak of profound experiences why do you marvel that the dead do not tell you of death. Their silence should be interpreted as we approach them. Sound as you are now hearing it by means of radio is pretty much taken for granted by most Americans and it's difficult to realize that it was within the lifetime of many of us the year 1916 in fact that David Sarnoff then 25 years old an assistant traffic manager of the Marconi company filed the following memorandum but with Edward J now laid its general manager I have in mind a plan of development which would make radio a household with tele teeth in the same sense as the piano or the phonograph. The idea is to bring music into the home by wireless. For example a radio telephone transmitter having a range of say 25 to 20 to 50
miles can be installed at a fixed point where instrumental or vocal music or both are produced. The receiver can be designed in the form of a simple radio music box and arranged for several different wavelengths which should be changeable with the throwing of a single switch or pressing of a single button. The same principle can be extended to numerous other fields. As for example receiving lectures at home which can be made perfectly audible. Also events of national importance can be simultaneously announced and received. Baseball scores can be transmitted in the air. This proposition would be especially interesting to farmers and others living in outlying districts removed from cities where the purchase of a radio music box they could enjoy concerts lectures music recitals etc. which may be going on in the nearest city within a radius. Aside from the profit to be derived from this proposition the possibilities are tremendous. But the company's name but ultimately be brought into the
household and wireless would receive national and universal attention. The vision of David Sarnoff and its realisation. Need No comment from one who is only too grateful to have this opportunity to use the medium that Sarnoff pioneered from a strictly auditory medium. Broadcasting has of course developed into a visual one as well. Television today is as much a part of the lives of most of us and taken about equally for granted as our eyes themselves. And what a shame it says we have only to close our eyes for a period of minutes and attempt to move about or merely the sit motionless and contemplate the blackened experience to realize how blessed it is the gift of sight. I recently came upon a book which tells the story of a seeing eye dog. Dogs against darkness by Dixon Hartwell published by Dodd mead and company. It's an excellent treatment of
this great boon to the blind which owes its existence to the generosity of many persons but to the vision and the devotion of four people in particular. Dorothy Eustace Elliott Humphrey Morris Frank and Willie evolving the training and the superior instincts of the seeing eye dogs is dramatized in a couple of incidents related near the close of the book as they happened to the sightless Mr. Morris and his seeing eye dog Buddy Mr. Hartwell writes. Many a dog has at one time or another been credited with saving his master from fire and sometimes along with him a whole house full of people and Buddy is no exception. One morning in an Eastern Hotel Maurice was awakened by Buddy looking his face in the cold dark hours before dawn. It was obvious that Buddy wanted something and though normally he would have been good for several more hours. Morris naturally assumed that she wanted to take a walk. He took up the telephone on the table
beside his bed and called the porter. He got up to get buddy's leash and when he opened the closet door a cloud of smoke billowed out at him. He gave the alarm. But by the time the hotel fire staff had reached his room buddy had guided Maurice down to the lobby in safety. The linen room on the floor below Maurices room was a blade and was rapidly being consumed when buddy's sensitive nose was aroused to the danger of fire. For years afterwards Buddy was a hero at that particular hotel but he lived up to our position in the dog world by proving that she was equal to the ordeal by fire. She also showed she was equal to the ordeal by water. Marise enjoys swimming and will plunge into anything bigger than a bathtub. Ordinarily when there was room in a pond for both of them and even if there was a buddy would come in after him when he was in deep water she would swim around him in circles standing by as it were in case of need.
Marsters friends thought this stunt of buddies was cute rather than practical especially whenever Marise swam in the friendly atmosphere of Mr Aiblins lake at open aka. But I want to kill you when Mars had been swimming alone for an hour or so in a large lake. He unexpectedly found it all at once he was exhausted. As he started to swim ashore he suddenly realized that he had lost a sense of direction. He didn't know where the nearest shore was there was no sun and he could not learn his direction by feeling as warm on his face. A light breeze he dared not trust he knew the vagaries of the wind. He knew that even if his fading strength held out he might swim in circles for hours without ever touching the shore for a moment. He was panic stricken. Then he remembered and relaxed. Buddy he called Come and Buddy paddled over and Marise reached out and felt her shaggy coat and took hold of the tip of her tail.
Buddy forward Maurice commanded and then swam along behind her as she paddled off in 5 minutes. Buddy had him back exactly at the place where they had under the water together. Buddy never got any Carnegie medals for heroism. He guessed that her job and moving on now to the sense of touch. I find it appropriate to continue this focus upon the sightless specifically to a man by the name of Edward Isaacs who at the height of a career as a concert pianist locked his eyesight rather than succumb to the tragedy either personally or professionally. Mr. ISAACS the Vita system for playing by the sense and technique of touch which he describes in a monograph published by William McClelland. And this is a bit specialized but I hope you'll stay with me through it for it's an interesting and dispassionate account of how an artist used his natural resourcefulness to overcome a major
handicap. My anxiety to avoid playing wrong notes natural in the circumstances of my new blackness caused me to begin to form a new habit the habit of trying to keep contact with the keyboard all the time and to fear raising my hands from it even when there was no justification. Technical or musical. But leaving the hands on the notes I found that if I had any sort of jump from one part of the keyboard to another to negotiate I so much fear of hitting the wrong part at the end of the jump that I avoided jumping altogether and edged my way along the keys eventually pushing down the notes I wanted to play with an entirely wrong attack on them and losing all sense of safety by so doing power on all that is I cannot too strongly emphasize together with the hugging of the keyboard which I found myself in danger of adopting. I also found out I was playing with my fingers flatter than they used to be on the notes. Another
tentative way of feeling for safety I condemned this in myself as soon as I noticed it. And I now condemn it in all other players sighted or blind to imagine they can train to be good players without that shape and position of finger. Let me not be told that someone's old a great pianist plays with flat fingers. He doesn't it may appear so. And in the slow playing of single note passages chiefly delicate touch sounds he may actually do so now and then. But if so he never learned to play live like that. You are simply allowing himself the full freedom he has achieved in the matter of using the keys. But this is after he has drilled his fingers to the right flexibility agility and accuracy in the curved position which is essential for learning. It is simply not true but it does not matter whether the fingers are curved or straight. I have found that some blind teachers although they told me their denunciation of straight fingers was as strong as my own. That somehow passed over this bad habit and
some of their own pupils. I do not necessarily impugn their own playing but perhaps they themselves will re-examine what they are doing if they feel sufficiently challenged by what I have written. I managed to conquer fear by setting myself exercises in the use of inner sight in sight of days. If I had to let my right hand jump to the top of the keyboard onto a chord. I know that I prepared the jump before hand looked at the spot I wanted to hit the shape of the chord actually hanging in the air so to speak a split second before I made the physical movement carrying my hand above the keys to the desired place. Then I would drop on a chord really from above it not on the end of a downward Gride but with a curved drop as sudden as the drop of a hot two very famous pianists have contributed to my collection of descriptions of how jumpy difficult passages should be tackled. One said I seem to prepare myself for the jump and then find my hand where I
want to be. The other said I never move my hand at all. I hope the reader will see that both these sayings come to the same thing. After the personal mechanism of each of the two famous players as done it's automatic and it's at the same time trained job. From the disturbance the fears the bewilderment and the strangeness of conditions. I had to face from the experiments of all kinds which I put myself through and with the help I was able to get from my former years of study playing and teaching I gradually evolved a system to work upon each experimental phase enabled me to test successive new theories about playing in the dark to retain some to discard others I found in the end that simplification was the secret. The use of simple musical material enabled me to watch and develop the newly growing powers of control and of application of that control to gradually more elaborate processes of playing. In fact I discovered
that the process of rehabilitation was possible and perhaps alone possible by the use of the same material and the same methods as for the original process of technique acquisition. Along with certain selections of complicated nature I acquired some confidence and I practiced the inventions in a simpler short fugues of Bach and the less complicated music of Schumann and Chopin Beethoven I thought I ought to leave alone until I could take him up again without violence to the deep musical import of even as earlier works. And thus we conclude the reading of this brief selection from the book blind piano teacher by Edward Isaacs a monograph published by William McClelland hearing sight touch and not taste which leads most
naturally to the subject of food. And for my taste one of the wittiest and one of the most easy to read of writers on the subject of food is an f. k Fisher a lady whose writings on diverse aspects of food cooking and eating are published by Harper and brothers. Here are some of Mrs. Fisher's pungent and flavor of some observations on tastes and preferences and food as affected by the passage of years particularly the later years summer book serve it forth. Between the ages of 20 and 50 John Doe spend some twenty thousand hours chewing and swallowing food. More than 800 days and nights of steady eating. The mere contemplation of this fact is upsetting enough when we are past 50 especially if we have kept up this pathetic pose of youth at the table. We begin to grow fat. It is then that even the blindest of us should be aware. Unfortunately however we are too used to seeing other people turn
heavy in their fifties. We accept punches and double chins as a necessary part of growing old. Instead we should realize this final protest of an overstuffed system and ease our bodies last years by lightening its burden. We should eat sparingly. It is here that astronomy or an equivalent can play its most comforting role even in crude form the desire for a special taste or sensation as often help an old man more than his critical family can know. They may call him heartless. He in his turn may as logically be acting with good sense like the ancient sailor who is much loved son was lost at sea when at last someone mustered courage to tell the father this tragic news. The old man looked at him coldly for a minute glanced out the window at the blown sea and snapped that blast it was what they should be and what might be. How many old people eating is the only pleasure left as where the endless
dishes and unceasing cups of wine to the aged Ulysses and between gobbling down an indistinguishable mess of heavy meat and bread or savoring a delicate broiled trout or an aspect full of subtle vegetable flavors. How few of those would choose the distressful insomnia that follows the first for the light easy rest of the second. But men are thoughtless and their habit followers have eaten meat and starches for years. They see no reason for stopping when they are old even when they think enough to realise that every function of their bodies is carried on more slowly and with more effort than ever before they go on ripping up their blood with well-done roads which travel haltingly through the system to the final colonic the quay that makes one of the great photos of Senna since constipation. There floated to their coffins on a river of stimulating infusions of beef extract in iron usually fed to them surreptitiously by well-meaning daughters. They plump out their poor sagging punches for years with the puffed richness of
such nourishing desserts as the typical English sweet which a friend described to me as follows cake soaked with a bad port smothered in boiled custard stained a purple brown with blackberry juice which is in turn top layered with warm ill beaten white of egg tinted fuchsia pink. The whole garnered with a small dirty brown buttons of granite that are reported by as Hardy or Britons to the macaroons. That's particularly followed concoction is called Queen openings. No wonder Old people are dubbed quickly crabbed and testy by sentimental novelists and plain held a live web by their less idealistic offspring but we must grow old and we must eat. It seems far from unreasonable once these facts are accepted for a man to cite himself the pleasant task of educating his palate so that they can do the former grudgingly and in spite of the latter but easily and agreeably because of it. Kelly Rand said that two
things are essential in life to give good dinners and to keep on fair terms with women. As the years pass and fire is cool it can become un important to stay always on fair terms either with women or one's fellows. But a wide and sensitive appreciation of fine flavors can still abide with us to warm our hearts. And the subject of food leads naturally to the next and final sense. The sense of smell and I can think of no more exhaustive than even somewhat exhausting treatise of the subject and that provided by Thomas will in the following excerpt from his first skyrocketing novel Look Homeward Angel published by Charles Scribner's and sons world rights of the boy Eugene Gant. He remembered yet the East India tea house at the fair. The sandal wood the turbans on the roads the cool interior and the smell of India tea and he
had felt not a nostalgic thrill of dew wet mornings and spring the cherry scent the cool Clarion earth the wet loneliness of the garden the pungent breakfast smells and the floating snow of blossoms into the Enco what shop excitement of hot dandelions and young spring grass at No. The smell of cellars cobwebs and built on secret earth in July of watermelon bedded in sweet hay inside a farmer's covered wagon a cantaloupe and grated peaches in the scent of orange rind bittersweet before a fire of coals into the good male smell of his father's sitting room on the smooth worn leather sofa with the gaping horsehair rent of the blistered varnished wood upon the hearth of the heated calfskin bindings of the flat moist plug of apple tobacco stuck with a red flag of wood smoke and burnt leaves in October of the brown tired autumn earth of honeysuckle the night of warm the stations of a clean ruddy farmer who comes weekly with printed butter eggs and milk a
fat limp underdone bacon and a coffee of a bakery oven in the window of large deep huge string beans and smoking hot and season well with salt and butter. Of a room of old pine boards in which books and carpets have been stored long clothes. A Concord grapes and their long white basket. Yes and the exciting smell of chalk and vinyl desks. The smell of heavy bread sandwiches a cold fright meat and butter the smell of new leather in a cyber shop or of a warm leather chair and of honey and of underground coffee of bottled sweet pickles and cheese and all the fragrant compost to the grocers the smell of stored apples in the cellar and an orchard Apple smells of pressed cider pulp a payer's ripening on a sunny shelf and of ripe cherries storing with sugar on hot stoves before preserving the smell of whittled wood. Not all young lumber of sawdust and of shavings of peaches stocked with clothes and pickled in brandy a
plain sap and green pine needles of a horse's paired hoof of chesnuts roasting of birds of nuts and raisins of hot crackling and of young Roast Pork of butter and cinnamon nothing on hot candied yams. Yes another rank slow river and the tomatoes rotten on the vine. The smell of rain wet plums and boiling quinces of rotten lily pads and of our weeds rotting and green Marsh scum and the exquisite smell of a soft clean but funky like a big woman of soaking trees in the earth after heavy rain. Yes and the smell of hot daisy fields in the morning of melted puddling iron in a foundry. The winter smell of horse warm stables and smoking Don and old oak and walnut and the butchers smell of meat of strong slaughtered Lamb plump gouty liver ground pasty sausages and red beef and of brown
sugar noted with slivered butter chocolate and a crushed mint leaves and a wet lilac bush of Magnolia beneath a heavy moon of dogwood and of Laro. I'm going to take a bite and bourbon rye aged and kegs of chard over the sharp smell of tobacco of carbolic and nitric acid. It's the coarse true smell of a dog. I vote imprisoned books in the cool fern smell near springs of vanilla and cake go and of cloven ponderous cheeses. Yes and a hardware store but mostly the good smell of nails and other developing chemical in a photographer's darkroom and the young life smell of paint and turpentine of buckwheat butter and blacks are gone of boiling fried the brain smell of pickling vats and the lush undergrowth smell of Southern Hills of a slimy oyster can of chilled gutted fish of kerosene and linoleum Assayas Burrell and grottoes and of ripe autumn persons
and the smell of the wind in the rains and now the acrid thunder of cold starlight in a brittle bladed frozen grass of fog in the mist of winter sun of seed time bloom and mellow dropping harvest and now red intemperately by what he had felt he began at school and the second romance the geography to brave the mixed odors of the earth. Sensing in every squat cake piled on a pier had a treasure of golden rum rich port but Burgundy smelling the jungle growth of the tropics the heavy order of plantations the salt fish smell of harbors voyaging in the vast and chanting but one perplexing world. And so we have concerned ourselves with the five senses hearing sight touch taste and smell. But there's a sixth sense most of us feel a sense of the
ineffability not easy to define and intuitive cognizance of some influence above and beyond ourselves that guides us inspires us protects us beckons us warns us and serves us. This sense reveals itself to us most commonly in times of stress in times out of joint for the common experience the sensitivity of the senses a beautifully expressed in spiritual terms. In this verse by an unknown Confederate soldier. I ask God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for help that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of
God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy like I was given a life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for but everything I had hoped for almost despite myself my own spoken prayers were answered. I am among all men most richly blessed you are. Next week's program will be devoted entirely to the world of sports and several offbeat items that may be new to you. I hope you plan to be with me when we call batter up until the end of his dick brought back saying thanks for listening and so long. You're listening to the land is produced and recorded at station w
h y y in Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. James Keeler speaking. This is the ne AB Radio Network.
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Listen to the land
Sense and sensitivity
Producing Organization
WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-3775z157).
Episode Description
This program focuses on American writings about the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of America.
Series Description
America's literary heritage is explored through readings of short stories, poems, folklore, journalism and legends. The series is narrated by Richard S. Burdick.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Announcer: Keeler, James
Host: Burdick, Richard S.
Producing Organization: WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Writer: Schmidt, Karl
Writer: Voegeli, Don
Writer: Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950
Writer: Sarnoff, David, 1891-1971
Writer: Hartwell, Dickson
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-54-16 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:47
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Chicago: “Listen to the land; Sense and sensitivity,” 1960-12-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 23, 2024,
MLA: “Listen to the land; Sense and sensitivity.” 1960-12-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Listen to the land; Sense and sensitivity. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from