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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.

A Mother's Challenge

by Marshall Jamison

A cool sea breeze blew softly across the
field of fresh cut hay
inviting me to breathe deeply the Bay’s
salt spray.
The scent cut sharply into the sweetness
of the new-mown clover
reminding me these glad Maine days
would soon be over.

My two little boys, in white sailor hats,
khaki clad, tan and wide-eyed,
fished for flounders, pollock or
tomcod on the rising tide.

They can’t recall now just what
they caught
or how long and hard their catches
but I remember, I’ll never forget!

For me, what nerve it took
to take the ugly sculpins off
the hook.

A Cambridge Education

by Marshall Jamison

My brother and I had golden curls
when we were five or six
and we fell in love with Radcliffe girls
who, I suppose, responded just for kicks.
For us, the dove of love flew high
just this side of heaven.

But all that ended when we reached
the advanced age of seven.

Not only were our curls cut then
but the girls discovered Harvard men.

A Boyhood Memory

by Marshall Jamison

Editor’s Note: A Boyhood Memory has been selected for inclusion in The National Library of Poetry.

He watched the grey gull he had shot
with his new air rifle
hobble away from the milk-soaked bread
he’d guiltily prepared
after his mother had quietly made him
feel rotten
because he’d broken his birthday
never to shoot at any living thing.
For days he held his reluctant captive
very carefully
as he fed it with increasing success,
on bread, milk and finally meat.

The day he released his patient,
the bird shook itself,
preened its grey feathers,
stretched its wings and flew
into the sea wind, free.

And, young as he was, he knew
the sharp pain
of rejection.

Singing in the Reign

by Marshall Jamison

Editor’s Note: Singing in the Reign was written in honor of Jack G. McBride’s retirement as General Manager of The Nebraska Educational Television Network in 1996.

Nebraska is known for its tall corn and golden wheat
and for a football team that’s extremely hard to beat.
The people in Florida know that’s so, ’cause
their teams were beaten, not once, but twice in a row!
Another fact about Nebraska and its future direction
concerns, not as you’d guess, the coming election
but rather, the choice and careful selection of the man
who will assume the important top position, no,
not of the undecided nation, but rather
the Nebraska Educational Television station
and its fine Network, which is known far and wide
as the pride and joy of Jack G. McBride.

He is often well described as the Keeper of the Flame
which burns in the hearts of those who share and
maintain those standards crafted with care,
of high resolve and deep devotion to the work
already accomplished and future dedication
to goals in art and education.

So now we salute this extraordinary man
who followed his ambitious daring plan
which he held always in his sights
to reach improbable, impossible heights.

When asked how he fashioned this fantastic scene
he replied, with a grin, Just ask my wife, Jean!
She, with an answering smile, replied with this rhyme:
Jack, on his climb, always, always took two stairs
at a time!

So now you may know how to measure his worth
to realize the value of his life here on earth.

Perhaps in the view of history’s eyes, he’ll be judged
by more analytical, Pontifical guys
but they’ll have to admit without equivocation
Jack McBride is a credit to the University,
the State and the Nation!