The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

Old Ironsides
By Oliver Wendell Holmes

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered bulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!

The USS Constitution, aka Old Ironsides, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Our tour guide was a US Navy gunner's mate who picked our older son out of a crowd of about 60 people to be his example powder monkey. He was particularly enthusiastic explaining discipline and the use of rum aboard ships.

The Constitution's stern cabin...

...captain's sleeping cabin...


...and gun deck.

The Bunker Hill monument, though in fact the battle of Bunker Hill was fought at Breed Hill.

Bunker Hill Bridge from in front of the monument. The red brick stripe leading down the hill is the Freedom Trail, which has one of its ends in front of the monument. This is what we were following past Paul Revere's house, the Old North Church, etc. the other day.

The state house above Boston Common. apaulled used to work in the tall white building in the back right -- 1 Ashburton Place.

Make Way For Ducklings, a public sculpture based on the Robert McCloskey book.

The swan boats in the public gardens.

I'm very tired from a day of sightseeing and visiting with windsweptaway and her family for the first time in three years, so you get only short captions tonight, sorry! Am hoping to hook up tomorrow night with mrkinch, the_reverand and aesc (have confirmed via telephone that they actually exist, whee!) The Constitution is amazing in itself, particularly since we have been aboard her rebuilt sister ship the Constellation so many times, and hearing about the battle with the Java in this context after reading The Fortune of War was an utter delight.

I shall end on that note by saying I have encountered what may be my favorite moment in all O'Brian so far, in The Thirteen Gun Salute: Jack has just told Stephen that he cannot land him on an island Stephen particularly wanted to see, with many rare birds and insects, for which Jack is most apologetic, and Stephen replies, "Never grieve, soul...we shall go there at our leisure in the Surprise once that Buonaparte has been knocked on the head." Oh man, would I love that to have been the end of the series...
Tags: new england 04

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