Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nat'l Poetry Month No. 19

Folks sang these words [by the great Ralph Waldo Emerson] at the completion of the Concord Monument, April 19, 1836 [or July 4, 1837, depending on your sources. They sang it both times, I'd be willing to wager, and often thereafter.]. Should you wish to know what they were singing about, that being the first shots, the opening battles [at Lexington & neighboring Concord, Mass. May seem like a quaint factoid, but man oh man, THINK about it: it was WAR. blood. sweat. tears & terror.] of the calamitous, ultimately triumphant hard slog we know as the America's Revolutionary War of Independence, here is a fine LINK.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

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