Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Just to set the record (and Sawah Pawin) straight:

Paul Revere's Ride

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,-
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,-
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,-
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,-
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,-
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.
Yes, there are some historical inaccuracies contained herein, but when weighed against Longfellow's desire to create Great American Heroes long before that TV show I personally regard his effort a roaring, legendary success.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mother Earth Suffers

I weep for Mother Earth as I watch the pain she suffers.
I weep for Mankind as we refuse to provide the buffers
From climate change brought about by we fools
From pollution and using poisonous fossil fuels.

Mother Earth shudders, She cries out in pain,
She sends tornadoes to kill hidden in the rain.
Elsewhere she gives her mantle a mighty shake
And huge cities can do naught but die in the quake.

She rends her surface beneath the seas
Sending tidal waves to bring death and disease
Destroying coastal cities as Her reminder to Man
That He is merely mortal and destroy Him She can.

And precious She alive for billions of years
Sees Her Death at the hands of Man's fears
That could spark the nuclear holocaust
Bringing Her the deathly illness She fears most.

So now Mother Earth reaches out to Man
To warn Him of the destruction She plans
Sign after sign She sends to signal us
That She can and will end all things if She must.

For She knows that She shall always remain
And can rebuild Herself again and again
As She remakes Herself, strengthens Herself,
And renews Herself to prepare for life's health.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I have written for other blog sites, my favorite being VidiotSpeak…

…and I will forever be grateful to all the fine people with whom I still write.

I was disabled by a vicious pair of cancers caused by exposure to Agent Orange from a stint I did in Vietnam. I think that, plus the dreadfully destructive and vile political scene that now exists to benefit only the rich and to do so by making America a third rate banana republic filled with a permanent lower class of citizens lacking the power to stop our 'political elite' and their corporate masters no longer provokes anger, just the heartache of watching our formerly great country devolve at an ever faster rate.

So I have to stop writing of politics for now and seek to further explore a mind, mine, almost destroyed by years of suffering chronic pain, panic attacks, and depression too deep to describe.

As I learn my way around this attempt to have a kinder, gentler blog site I hope to allow everyone or anyone who also seeks an avenue for expressions of their thoughts to post here. The only rule will be no name-calling, insults, profanity, or ad hominem attacks.

So there, that's my first post here; it will not be my last.