Chautauqua 2016-23

I remember reading James Michener’s “The Fires of Spring” when I was quite young. I wrote about this before and inserted a paragraph from the book then that stayed with me for so many decades. (See 2015-100). In the book, a young lad experienced life in Eastern Penna around the early 1900’s. In the story, a group of people came to town and “Did a Chautauqua”, which in essence was a troupe of people doing orations, minstrel acts, etc. from town to town, under a tent.  There is a place, Chautauqua. NY (corrected), that has retreats and other happenings and my friend Dorothy goes there from time to time…..

Chautauqua 2016-23

The soliloquy of a Chautauqua

so supreme, told in a manner

to enlighten those surrounding

the orator speaking loudly


Thoughts and opinions thrown

out to Americana to contemplate,

think out, and perhaps if agreed

with, then acted upon.


Listeners with cocked heads trying

to ascertain meaning from all the

spoken words, ears straining to

decipher words sometimes said



Chautauqua days gone by, supplanted

by a box blaring out words and then

later pictures that replace the minds

magic of imagination.

Den Betts