This is not really about poetry; it’s more about history and geography and education and politics and...stupidity.
I had to memorize a poem in grade school, a few lines of which I still remember, about the American Revolution. I don’t know if other kids were forced to learn such things, but I lived in a town near Boston, where it allegedly all started. That might explain this item being on the curriculum.
The poem’s title is The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, written by a guy named Longfellow (according to my long-term memory, which tends to be more reliable than the short-term one). Paul was supposedly a silversmith from Boston, who also owned a horse...or was able to borrow one. The story of one eventful night in his life, or a glorified version thereof, is captured in the poem. Here are the lines I remember:
One if by land, and two if by sea
And I on the opposite shore will be
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm
In case school children from other districts, states, or generations were not forced to learn this bit of Americana, I’ll provide a free (bonus) summary. It’s about Paul Revere receiving a signal beamed from a church tower across the water in Boston about British troop movements. If they traveled by boat, the invasion route would be different than one used on foot. For those of you unfamiliar with geography (as at least one resident of Alaska seems to be), Middlesex is a county northwest of Boston. The towns of Concord and Sudbury are located in this county, the importance of which is known to “scholars” of the Revolution and politicians taking the time to feign intelligence.
If the poem is correct, it would suggest that Mr. Revere took a ride to warn his fellow citizens of an impending visit from men in red coats. It does not mention any communication with those foreign fellows, which a certain political clown has tried wring from the verse.
Sorry, but I must submit you to some bad poetry (if you bother to continue reading...)
I am not the friendliest person (it has something to do with being introverted and choosy about people with which I associate). Thinking about the friends I have and those that I have known, I composed the below dodgy poem a few years ago. I recall learning about the rules of poetry in school, but have forgotten everything. Some of the lines rhyme...sort of. It's the message that is important. Believe it or not, this was written before anyone had thought of Facebook or social media. Perhaps, the sentiments are more apt than ever...
Some friends you keep forever;
Some friends you keep for a day;
Some friends are there when you need them;
Some friends just look the other way.
Some are friends when they need you;
Some are friends for no reason at all;
Some are friends ‘cause you fit together;
Some are friends at you beck and call.
Some friends may simply come and go;
But, a true friend is pleasant to have around
Some friends are not there when you need them;
But, a true friend will never let you down.
I may have mentioned that I like words and language. That has motivated me to be creative (?).
I expect that the following poem will become a classic. Then again, it might not. I've heard that poems have things like iambic pentameters, but have no idea what they could be.
Like all great artists, I merely write from the soul...
ODE TO WORDS
A, B, C
H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P
Q, R, S, T
W, X, Y
Copyright 2011 Thomas Harrington
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.