Wednesday, December 26, 2018

"On Leaving Legals Seafood" by John C. Mannone

On Leaving Legals Seafood
John C. Mannone
            Long Wharf, Boston, 2012

Water taxis ride the sacred
Boston harbor waterways
seemingly with indifference
to American Revolution
echoes dissolved in the waves
and in the whispers of offshore
breeze and boat wind. I know,
I heard them despite the seagull
cries for anything one could throw
them, like manna. And the water,
Holy Moses, split open to green walls 
by boat’s bow leaning into the turn.
Behind me, a wake of history
hidden by sky scrapers, but ahead
to the north and west, the sky
in its prayer shawl, kneels 
at the sight. All I can do is chant
‘Oh my dear Lord’ through the water
filling my eyes. I see her sails
still fluttering freedom. Her sleek
wood painted to hide the blood
of those who gave theirs for me.
A constellation of emotion
upwelling out of the silence
into a roar of gratitude to those
who served on the USS Constitution
for this great ship of State.

Poet’s Notes:  On a business trip in 2012, I visited Legals Seafood’s main restaurant on the wharf in Boston harbor and took a water taxi. The tears welled in me as I saw that great ship floating there, still seaworthy! This poem had been hiding in my spirit for quite some time.

Editor’s Note:  Seeing the USS Constitution (pictured) when I was a boy moved me, too.  John’s poem captures the feelings the sight of her inspired in me.

USS Constitution, a 44-gun frigate, also known as “Old Ironsides”, was launched in 1797 and distinguished herself in the War of 1812 and served as a training ship during the War Between the States.  She remains the oldest ship in active US Navy service.  To find out how this mighty warship earned her nickname, follow this link http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/on-this-day/July-August-08/On-this-Day--USS-Constitution-Earns-Nickname--Old-Ironsides--in-War-of-1812.html.

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