by Marshall Jamison

Our father loved the gripping verse of poet Alfred Noyes
and often read The Highwayman to us as little boys.
We shivered as we listened to the rough night
rider’s plight.

Were excited and enchanted by the poet’s clear

John Greenleaf Whittier shared with us Blessed
Inward Joys.

Quickly Ere They Passed Us, Laughing Barefoot Boys.

Then in what we thought a happy circumstance
our family moved a block or two from the tall
yellow manse
of the former Cantabridgian,
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
for whom All Was Ended Now, The Hope,
The Fear and The Sorrow.

And so although the Master Poet was no
longer there
it seemed that he had left for all
treasures we might share.

Share them we did with widening eyes and
an eager new found store
of knowledge of a mighty ship built in
those exciting days of yore.

It sails on even now, so independent
strong and great,
triumphant, immortal, the Union,
our own Ship of State.

That dream realized, first nurtured and shared
by our gallant forefathers, country folk
who somehow dared
to answer the challenge of Freedom’s call
From Behind Each Fence And Farmyard Wall
as reported by the poet who described
it all
for those of us who still hold dear
the midnight message of Paul Revere.

And find in such rich and glorious rhyme
reading joy to grace a lifetime.