Sundays with Me and Paul . . .

Come walk with me . . .
past busy city intersections
into Little Italy,
past salumeris and bakeries too.

Now look up . . .
at that gleaming white spire
atop the red brick edifice.
Boston’s Old North,
Paul Revere’s church.
National Historical Park Site.
Active Episcopal congregation.

So glad you’re joining us today!
Allow me to seat you inside.
Are you three today?
Yes, amazing to see . . .
all original white box pews.
And where are you from?

How about Pew #25?
Owned in 1759,
by Captain Daniel Malcom,
a Son of Liberty.
Yes, in those days,
wealthy people bought their pews.
And note the plaque inside,
December 29, 1912
Theodore Roosevelt
He did! He sat right there.

Now do look behind you . . .
four wooden angel figures
in the organ loft.
“Gifts” to the church in 1745,
from a privateer –
a legal pirate –
“taken” from a French ship!

And look here . . . .in your bulletin . . .
right after the Offertory.
See the words to the Doxology?
We sing that, and then . . .
what I love best at Old North.
The next words you see there . . .
final verse to My Country Tis of Thee.

Our fathers’ God, to thee,
Author of liberty,
To thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light.
Protect us by they might,
Great God, our King!

The organ booms it out
and everyone sings . . .
oh how we sing!
Chills down your back!

After the service,
listen . . .
oldest bells in North America,
cast in Gloucester, England in 1744,
hung in Boston in 1745,
will be pealing away!

Six bell ringers pull on ropes
in mathematical sequences
from high up in that famous spire . . .
where the lantern was waved
April 18, 1775.
You remember . . .
one if by land, two if by sea” . . .

So there you have it!
Nice to have you join me,
on my almost-every-Sunday walk
to Old North . . .
hallowed ground
hallowed place
in American history.

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It’s Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Sarah is hosting and asks us to take her and our readers on a journey that is very familiar to us. Most Sundays of the year when we are in Boston, we walk to the North End (Little Italy) to Old North (actually Christ Church) and usher for the 11 AM service. Top photo was taken last Christmas; second photo was taken after the Patriots’ Day Service, the one night a year the lantern is carried again to the top of the tower/spire to shine as it did in 1775. Every Sunday, we literally have visitors from across the globe.

Night View from 7N

Outside, an evening still-life
city sounds gone.
Color wheel spun to day’s end,
the stuff of coloratura
no more.
Within the darkness,
a multiplicity of light.

Tree leaves
individual by day
morphed imperceptible,
indistinct within their larger shape.
Lunar glow, specks of bright,
office window flickers,
shadows in grays.

Not black or white.
No monochrome this.

Softened lines and curves.
Milky illumination
blending into hazy ebony.
Outside my window,
a continuum of grace.
My urban amen
as I slip into sleep.

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We’re Looking Out/Looking In at dVerse today. I’m hosting Tuesday’s Poetics and asking everyone to consider the windows in their apartment/home. They can either look in or look out; look at the view or the window itself. And then write a poem that somehow deals with that window, metaphorically or in reality (poetic license allowed, of course!). Each writer is to do two things: 1) post the photo of their window or view from their window; and 2) write a poem motivated by that photo, using the word “window” in either the title or text of the poem. And by the way, dVerse just celebrated their 6th anniversary yesterday!! dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, opens at 3 PM Boston time today. Come on over and post your “view” and/or just take a peek with us! All are welcome!

Christmas in Boston

Splashes of red brighten everyday winter mood.

Cardinal perched ‘top snow laden branch
holly berries ‘mongst waxy green leaves
stocking-capped girl on ice-covered pond.

Cranberry garland round grandma’s tree
foil-wrapped treats with ribbon-tied bows
cinnamon red-hots on gingerbread men.

And then . . . on a star lit night
Old North’s steeple glows tall and bright
draws us to her warmth within.

History fills this sacred space
softly lit by candlelight,
voices lilt from loft above.

Spirits lift and faces shine,
voices raise as all join in
oh come all ye faithful . . .

celebrate that gift of hope.
Love born this very night,
so long long ago.

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Old North. Paul Revere’s church where lanterns were waved that infamous night, immortalized in Longfellow’s poem.
We shall walk to Old North on Christmas Eve when the church will be aglow with candles lit in her brass chandeliers and sconces that are 200+ years old. 

Transplant

City lights blink like fireflies, regardless of season. High rise windows shine where brick meets sky in a busy horizon.

Ten thousand steps a day are easy here. Church, mosque, supermarket. Post office, synagogue and hardware store. Restaurants serve Italian, Chinese, Ethiopian, French, Japanese, Greek, seafood, pizza, tapas, ribs. Department stores, yarn shop, coffee shops, and burger joints. Museum of Fine Arts and African American Meeting House. Beauty and nail salons, barbershop, shoe repairs, dentists, doctors, optometrist and palm reader too. Freedom trail and river stroll.  I am carless in the city. Well-worn walking shoes upon my feet and a cornucopia of things to do.

Iowa girl
fifteen acres
first-picked tomato
dripping down my chin.
Transplanted to cityscape.
I still carry heartland habits,
greeting surprised strangers
as they pass me by on city streets.

Written for dVerse, the virtual poet’s pub, where Bjorn is hosting Haibun Monday and suggesting a modern take on this form — put it into a city poem and the haiku that follows the prose may or may not be about nature; may or may not follow haiku form. Pub opens at 3 PM…come visit other’s views of city life! Photos taken from our 7th floor deck in our highrise in Boston.

Celebrating 241Years

O ye daughters and sons of liberty,
these stairs do creak
neath the weight of history’s tale.

Paul Revere didst wait that eve
to see the revolution’s wick,
waving light from Old North’s spire.

Two lanterns carried high
two horsemen urged on with alarm,
signals all to freedom’s dreams.

Gather ye now and every year,
honor patriots of battles past
and those who hero now.

Raising voices strong
in songs of country’s pride,
our enduring land of liberty.

A “folk poem” for dVerse. Written April 18, 2016, exactly 241 years after the occasion immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. The Lantern Ceremony has been held for the past 139 years at Boston’s Old North Church, an active Episcopal congregation to this day.  Paul Revere was a member and arranged for the sexton Robert Newman and vestryman, Captain John Pulling Jr., to climb the steeple stairs pictured here and signal with two lanterns, if the British were approaching by the Charles River. This sparked Paul Revere’s infamous ride to warn militia and ultimately, the first shots of the American Revolution. Also counting as NaPoWriMo Day 19.

Photos: my spouse climbing the steeple’s stairs at Old North. We are fortunate to be members of this historical church and attended the April 18, 2016 Lantern Ceremony: fife and drum corps, historical reenactment, recitation of Longfellow’s poem, a featured speaker, lighting of two lanterns at the altar. The lanterns are then processed through the church and carried up the steeple as they were that night. The ceremony concludes with the singing of America and America the Beautiful. I can truly say it is a magnificent evening — for me, more moving and inspirational than the 4th of July. And I love the 4th of July! If you’re ever in Boston on April 18th, I urge you to get tickets in advance and attend! Last photo is taken from Copps Hill after the ceremony last week.

Videos: Both from the 2015 ceremony — they are always similar except for the featured speaker and those honored to be the lantern bearers up the steeple.  The first is from outside the church.  The second (church is lit by candlelight and this is an amateur video so it is somewhat dark) shows the rousing conclusion of the ceremony — with just the first verse of America — all verses are sung.