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Monday, January 18, 2010

Paul Revere's Ride

Paul Revere's Ride (Henry W. Longfellow)

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
>From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Paul Revere

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stuff I like: Clouds & Sky

06/28/2012: Why create another post when I can just use this same one?


Storm clouds at sunset, June 2012.


The above taken on a motorcycle ride; a ranch in the Mt. Evans area, Colorado.

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Something I have discovered I have in common with my good-looking friend:



To wit, a keen appreciation for sky and clouds. He sent me the above picture yesterday (I think it was yesterday), with a notation that he "loves the sky". Well: Hell, yeah!

The images below were made with my crappy old camera phone (except for the one from 2005, that was taken with my crappy old webcam) SO DON'T COMPLAIN. I have a new camera but circumstances seem to be conspiring to keep me from being able to use it--I STILL haven't been able to get a memory card for it. Hmf. >[

I live in a teeny tiny town on Colorado's Eastern plains. I take a lot of pictures off my front porch. And why shouldn't I? This place is AWESOME. I get to see the Milky Way every single night unless it's cloudy. I can pick out each star in the Pleiades constellation with just a pair of binoculars. (Once I get my new camera going, I fully intend to prove that.)



From my porch.



Windmill and clouds near Mathie, Colorado.



Storm clouds. (Deer Trail, Colorado)



My porch again. The sky had this unusual glazed appearance to it that day.



From the porch at the house where I lived in 2005/2006 near Byers, Colorado. I'm really not much of a morning person, either, but when I lived in that place I would wake up just before sunrise a lot of the time because it was either that or freeze to death.

I can hear you laughing! But me and my critters actually DID almost freeze to death a few times in that place. Nice area (sort of) but quite... er... DRAFTY. Lots of flies, too. Ok, it was like being in Hell, most of the time, except Hell is not as expensive. I'm just sort of glossing over that. It's over now: That's something to be happy about.

I have lots more pictures of clouds and stuff--I'm very tiresome that way. At least I have discovered an exuberant friendship with another person who I'm delighted to discover shares this tiresomeness with me. ;)

~~~ yours in Chaos, Scarlett

Friday, January 1, 2010

Stuff I like - exploration



The road!



This is fairly near where I live, in Agate, Colorado. My dog Bentley is in this picture.



Moody clouds near Agate, Colorado.



On an abandoned farm near Leader, Colorado.



Abandoned farm near Leader, Colorado.



This is near where I found a dead guy (he had shot himself in the chest) in August, 2005. Somewhere near Hoyt, Colorado.



I think this cemetery is in Kansas. I forgot to write down exactly where it was.



Cemetery in Kansas.



Ghost house along highway 36 in Kansas. Really cool place, I've been there several times.



I think this is in Ohio. I was standing here when the person who had been pet-sitting for me told me that a neighbor's cats had killed two of my doves. :(




Charlie Cockatoo is exploring the back yard at my house!



Ghost house in Elbert County, Colorado. Bentley is in this picture, too. The only time I don't take Bentley with me when I go wandering is when I'm on my bike.

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I have a new, much nicer camera that I'll be able to take better photos and videos with--I haven't been able to get a memory card for it yet. I like to explore are desolate areas, cemeteries, abandoned properties, forests, canyons... hm... well just about anyplace I think I can get in and out of without getting shot or eaten by a bear. The time I found the dead guy was a trip; apparently he had been lying there for less than 24 hours, but the area was hella deserted. If I hadn't found him he probably would have been there for a week.

~~~ yours in Chaos, Scarlett ;)