Tom’s memories – “Song of the Corn”

Tom, late 1930s

Tom, late 1930s

My Dad, Tom, shared this story with me today, from his childhood in the late Depression years. Back in those days, prohibition was still a fresh memory, and the destructive effects of alcohol were well-documented. Our society today seems to have forgotten about the damage alcohol can do, and about how it comes from something – such as corn – that can do so much good.

It’s amazing what the memory can do, even after 85 years. Here is what he told me today.

When I was a young student in our local high school in the late 30s and early 40s, the Bible was a part of our everyday activity. Devotional was held before the class session, and we actually stood and quoted the Ten Commandments as a part of our lives. In those sessions, we also looked at other aspects that might affect our everyday lives. One of the things we talked about was the effect that the use of alcohol could have. I do not know who the teacher was, but he was always reminding us that we needed to obey the Ten Commandments and to keep our lives as clean as could be. I do not know the author of this poem or where it came from, but I do remember this is one of the things we memorized:

The Song of the Corn

I was made to be eaten,
And not to be drank,

To be threshed in a barn,
Not soaked in a tank.

I came as a blessing,
When put in a mill,

As a blight and a curse,
When run through a still.

Make me up into loaves,
And your children are fed,

But if into a drink,
I’ll starve them instead.

Then remember my warning,
My strength I’ll employ,

If eaten, to strengthen,
If drunk, to destroy.


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