we plow the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land
but it is fed and watered
by god’s almighty hand

he sends the snow in winter
the warmth to swell the grain
the breezes and the sunshine
and the soft refreshing rain

all good gifts

we thank thee then
for all things bright and good
the seedtime and the harvest
our life, our health, our food

no gifts have we to offer
for all thy love imparts
but that which you desire
our humble thankful hearts1

nu cocci e granu 2

1  All Good Gifts – Godspell (modified lyrics – I tried to de-god them, but had to leave in one reference.)
In the play, the song and the scene portray the ultimate hippie stereotypes – the cast holds hands and dances around the actor singing the simple song; and as they get to the end-chorus, they lift the singer up and out of their closed circle.

2  The title is in dialect. My parents would often talk about the post-war years in Calabria as a time when, ud aviamu mancu nu coccio e granu – we didn’t even have a grain of wheat. Standard Italian flattens the phrase to – non avevamo nemmeno un seme di grano – removing all the emphatic guttural sounds of the dialect. Sorry, the old Calabrese, using a double negative, drives home the dire straits of a people on the verge of starvation. The old Calabrese captures the desperation of a people mired in feudalism and then abandoned by the same patroni – landowners – who had subjugated them.

The Winnabago Indian woman, holding the pannier and carrying her two children, is the Frank Lloyd Wright Nakoma statue in my backyard. (I shot the image from my second floor porch and the yellow haze, in the top right corner, is an out of focus white lilac blossom.)

The sculpture represents both the sentiment of the song and the tragedy of nurturing children during periods of deprivation.