Ah Boston, for the record . . .

Hear ye, hear ye!
Listen my friends and ye shall learn
of the accolades so well earned
by one auspicious founding city,
bordered by the sea.

1632: first windmill, erected upon Copp’s Hill
1634: first public park, aptly named Boston Common.
1635: first public school dubbed Boston Latin,
still educating youth today.
1636: first college, Harvard University
originally in Boston proper,
later moved across the Charles,
still today in Cambridge, Mass.
1653: first public library
1704: the first newspaper shared its tales.

Now I’m quite certain,
there are many more,
all of which burnish
that proverbial record book.
But do let me share
one most unusual first,
not oft discussed
amongst delicate Brahmin Bostonians.

Taking a birds’ eye view, as they say,
of Boston’s colorful history,
well beyond its revolutionary ties.

1886: the first known photo  . . .
. . . wait for it . . . ’tis really true,
of someone flipping the bird!

There in grainy black and white
the Boston Beaneaters baseball team
stands tall beside and behind
the New York Giants team of the day.

Look closely and ye shall see
Charles “old Hoss” Radbourn
leaning in, well ahead of his time,
Boston-proud that long-ago day.

Middle finger extended,
obviously raised,
hand rests firmly on the shoulder
of one oblivious New Yorker chap.

Now one can theorize
and I generally do,
this could mark
another auspicious first.

One raised finger, the first of many
shared over years to come,
between Boston and New York.
Long before the Babe walked out!

IMG_6089Written for Tuesday’s Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where we’re asked to write about a theory, or use the word “theory” in a poem, or theorize within a poem. Information for this post is documented at https://www.chaostrophic.com/heres-first-known-picture-someone-flipping-bird/   Old Hoss is far left, back row. Caveat: some have since said he is holding a cigar…but others point to later pictures of him flipping the bird on other occasions as well! 

18 thoughts on “Ah Boston, for the record . . .

  1. Mary (tqhousecat) May 8, 2019 / 10:51 am

    A first we won’t find in the history books! Ah, yes, Boston strong! Great poem!


  2. kanzensakura May 8, 2019 / 11:40 am

    Lillian, not to burst a hole in your theory of Boston but the first Thanksgiving was held at Berkeley Plantation, Virginia in November 1621.


    • merrildsmith May 8, 2019 / 12:32 pm

      And the Spanish celebrated one in St. Augustine in 1565. 🙂


      • lillian May 8, 2019 / 1:09 pm

        Well clearly, I need to delete this part! Maybe it was the first Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, yams covered in marshmallows and green bean casserole? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • lillian May 8, 2019 / 1:22 pm


        Sent from my iPhone: Lill Hallberg


        Liked by 1 person

      • Dr. Crystal Grimes May 9, 2019 / 6:08 am

        Lol I bet it was. Green bean casserole is one of my favorite things, especially at Thanksgiving. 😋


    • lillian May 8, 2019 / 1:10 pm

      Out and about but clearly I need to delete this part! Unless it was the first one with marshmallow on the yams and green bean casserole? 🙂


      • kanzensakura May 8, 2019 / 1:55 pm

        Haha. Nope it was white folks with indigennous people that lived along the James River. At Berkley Plantation. I think they served popcorn and corn chips.


  3. robtkistner May 8, 2019 / 1:32 pm

    This was great fun Lillian… 🙂 thank you for sharing!


  4. rothpoetry May 8, 2019 / 9:14 pm

    How funny! Baseball does strange things to those who play!


  5. Frank J. Tassone May 12, 2019 / 2:28 pm

    A delightful tail about the rivalry of states, and the foreshadowing of the Yankee-Redsox rivalry!


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