Pershing at the Front (by poet Arthur Guiterman) a student recitation favorite…

Back in the day students were required to memorize poems and recite them in class.  For most the process was torture—memorizing a poem from a list of “suggested” poems, working up the nerve to stand up in front of the class for the recitation, and enduring the embarrassment from  snickers of buddies in the audience.

Here’s one that was a favorite of the day, passed around on typewritten and mimeographed “ditto machine” purple-ink copies.     It is appropriate now, among all this false rhetoric about General Pershing, who was a World War I American general, with a long and distinguished reputation as a good, tough cookie among military Historians.

It’s a great poem…rhythm and meter perfect in my book, and well worth reading out loud and all the way through.     Thanks to the folks at holyjoe.org\guiter8.htm for posting it on their site.

Pershing at the Front

      by

Arthur Guiterman

    (1871-1943)

The General came in a new tin hat
To the shell-torn front where the war was at;
With a faithful Aide at his good right hand
He made his way toward No Man’s Land,
And a tough Top Sergeant there they found,
And a Captain, too, to show them round.

Threading the ditch, their heads bent low,
Toward the lines of the watchful foe
They came through the murk and the powder stench
Till the Sergeant whispered, “Third-line trench!”
And the Captain whispered, “Third-line trench!”
And the Aide repeated, “Third-line trench!”
And Pershing answered- not in French-
“Yes, I see it. Third-line trench.”

Again they marched with wary tread,
Following on where the Sergeant led
Through the wet and the muck as well,
Till they came to another parallel.
They halted there in the mud and drench,
And the Sergeant whispered, “Second-line trench!”
And the Captain whispered, “Second-line trench!”
And the Aide repeated, “Second-line trench!”
And Pershing nodded: “Second-line trench!”

Yet on they went through mire like pitch
Till they came to a fine and spacious ditch
Well camouflaged from planes and Zeps
Where soldiers stood on firing steps
And a Major sat on a wooden bench;
And the Sergeant whispered, “First-line trench!”
And the Captain whispered, “First-line trench!”
And the Aide repeated, “First-line trench!”
And Pershing whispered, “Yes, I see.
How far off is the enemy?”
And the faithful Aide he asked, asked he,
“How far off is the enemy?”
And the Captain breathed in a softer key,
“How far off is the enemy?”

The silence lay in heaps and piles
And the Sergeant whispered, “Just three miles.”
And the Captain whispered, “Just three miles.”
And the Aide repeated, “Just three miles.”
“Just three miles!” the General swore,
“What in the heck are we whispering for?”
And the faithful Aide the message bore,
“What in the heck are we whispering for?”
And the Captain said in a gentle roar,
“What in the heck are we whispering for?”
“Whispering for?” the echo rolled;
And the Sergeant whispered, “I have a cold.”

 


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Johnson’s Island, Confederate officers prison on Lake Erie, Ohio (Part Two)

(all photos on this page © Sometimes, 2017)   These photos were taken in May 1981 by Bob Dreger, my late husband.

The island prison housed Confederate military officers who were originally  captured during Civil War battles, and imprisoned  at Camp Chase, Columbus Ohio.   The object was to separate the officers from the rank-and-file soldiers and house them in the Northern prison where they remained until the end of the Civil War in 1865, or their death, which ever came first.    Over two hundred of them remain there, in their graves, to this day.

There is more to come from SOMETIMES, so please check back for more information about Johnson’s Island.     (I would continue now, but I have a lunch date with my best friend where we will fight the Civil War again.   We are on the same side…North, anti-Slavery, but present upheaval over Civil War statues opens up new debate across our nation—as if we don’t have plenty to debate! 🙂   For what it’s worth, this on-going perennial battle never dies.

 

 

Johnson’s Island confederate cemetery on Lake Erie, Ohio….photos of Southern soldier statue (Part One)

Here are two photos of the statue at Johnson’s Island, Ohio, taken by Bob Dreger in 1981.   The cemetery is a protected U.S. site, where more than two hundred Confederate military officers are buried.    I do need to clarify that Bob Dreger was the photographer, in 1981.  The copyright  is ©Sometimes, 2017.

This island is far North, half way to Canada.   It was important because all of the prisoners were Confederate military officers (Lieutenant and higher) who were separated from the rank-and-file soldiers incarcerated at Camp Chase, Ohio, and transferred to Johnson’s Island.

Later today I will try to post several more photos from this same batch.

This is the first part of this post on SOMETIMES, photos of the statue itself, including the pedestal, or base, which clearly explains the presence of a Southern monument this far North.   Johnson’s Island is located off of Sandusky, Ohio, in Lake Erie.   The island itself is privately owned, with controlled access.     Visitors to the federal cemetery do have access to the cemetery grounds, however.

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U.S.Civil War. Statue of Confederate Soldier, at Johnson’s Island, Ohio. Photo by Bob Dreger, ©Sometimes, 2017
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Base of Confederate Soldier statue on Johnson’s Island, Ohio, Civil War Prison. ©photo by Bob Dreger, Sometimes 2017)

Rescued Trees

DSC00018.JPG WIDE YARD VIEW
Here are two trees I trimmed to create a base for a trellis; will train the clematis (behind the plastic trellis) to move over.   The obligatory cats are Peggy and Dottie.
DSC00023.JPG TRIMMED SPRUCE TREE
Here’s the huge, homely evergreen tree that I had originally planned to remove entirely, but decided to trim it as shown.   (I admit that it did manage to mask the unattractiveness behind.)
DSC00019.JPG TRIMMED NUT TREE
This new haircut for the nut tree was unplanned; originally the top was slated to be cut off. I like the “umbrella” effect. The purpose here was to control the excessive shade that was affecting my hibiscus.       The big maple in the middle of the photo is on the other side of the yard, had its beginning as a volunteer in a pot.  
DSC00028.JPG TRIMMED MAPLE TOP SKY
This is the maple tree, showing the branch that was not easily reachable with the ladder. I like it this way. This originally started as a volunteer, so persistent that I finally braided it, and now I’ll just see where it wants to go.
DSC00047.JPG HELICOPTER
A helicopter, I think maybe the Sheriff, looking around or coming into the airport.

The Naked Ladies in all their glory…

Here are some pics of this gorgeous lily from my daughter’s yard.  I had lots of them, given to me by a neighbor long ago, and there are still a few around from that bunch of bulbs.    Here is a link:  https://www.americanmeadows.com/flower-bulbs/other-spring-flower-bulbs/belladonna-lily to American Meadows’ site featuring these and other plants.   The site also offers fascinating information about the Lillies, and a photo of a spectacular large group planting.

About the Belladonna Lily and its names. This plant is an interesting one. First of all, it’s real name is Amaryllis belladonna, and it’s the only species in the amaryllis genus. This means the Belladonna is the ‘true’ Amaryllis. All those big indoor-blooming things at holiday time are called ‘Amaryllis’ as a common name, but their botanical name is Hippeastrum. (excerpt is from the American Meadows’ site.)

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Real name Belladonna Lily
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Naked Lady is a “true Amarallis.”

 

 

Anne Finds Her Career (originally posted February 2016 )

— I first published this poem here on SOMETIMES in February of 2016.    The plan is to re-post some of my favorites among my 400+ posts since the blog began back in 2011.—

Anne finds her career …

When Anne was a girl, she always wanted to be
a dancer.  To wear flowing gowns and satiny slippers
and be guided as a sylph, lifting in twirls and leaping high,
up in the air with skirts twirling and shoes barely touching the floor,
and feeling the thrill of the collective sigh from the audience.
But as fate would have it, her two left feet, and her lack of graceful
moves — more like those of a duck than a lovely swan, or
even a goose–combined with her brother’s snickers
she stepped on her skirt instead of her shoes
and tripped over her partner’s feet.

So then, when she saw that a new goal was needed
Anne decided that she wanted to be, when she grew older,
a doctor.  To have a white coat, a stethoscope  and thermometer
and peer into ears and down throats of her patients…to quickly discover
what ailed them…and find a cure, and all of the people would just be
astounded when Little Anne became a Doctor!
A wonderful plan!
It would be  a good position, pay plenty of money, and mean
great prestige…and besides, the town needed a Doctor.
It might have been the perfect profession, except…
she fainted dead away at the first drop of blood.

Not to be derailed on her track to gainful employment
Anne thought long and hard to find just the right profession
that would serve both her ambitions and her need for recognition.
“One thing that I can do well,” said Anne, “without  tripping over any feet
while dancing…or to lose my wits and panic when anyone bleeds…

The perfect job for me (why didn’t I think of it sooner?) is to get
pen and paper, and a computer — and spend my life Writing!”
So she wrote and she wrote, books and poems, and tales
about dancers and doctors, and all kinds of things.

©Sometimes,2016

Dreaming imaginary Prague, reposted

Dreaming imaginary Prague

 I have never been to Prague, except in daydreams…
but my impressionable mind is easily led
into the magical world of zithers and Gypsies,
of violins singing and wailing in ageless melodies…
music of joy and abandon…or sadness and melancholy.

Put on your hat, my girl, and come along with me…
We will trip the light fantastic (or is it a Fandango?)
whirling, twirling and dancing …and laughing at nothing
as our echoing soles  click and ring among  the cobblestones…
back to the days of fancy and intrigue.

Halcyon days of exquisite youth and passion for it all–
sordid or glorious, respectable or ridiculous–
days when common sense stayed at home amid the quiet
and comfortable over-stuffed chairs…and crackling radio static
never quite able to drown out the strains of an orchestral tune.

Prickles of goose bumps remind of running with n’er-do-wells
and bad influences…those mysterious, exciting  ones that
never existed, masquerading as “ladies” and “gentlemen,”
life’s forbidden (or at least frowned upon) adventures
among the brilliantly dark recesses of shadowy corners.

The mere mention of Prague always brings unseen wonders–
half-vision, half-dream.      There are Ladies in satiny dresses
and impossible shoes…. dancing away the nights, until dawn.
They sway with the music of instruments with no names,
enticing dangerously handsome partners with unknown designs.

But I digress, as is my wont…
the thoughts of romance and mystery subside–
old Prague returns to an idea that lives on
for dreamers…and poets.

©Sometimes, 2016

A new leaf shows its color

Some lightening up is in order… despite my penchant for gloom and doom, conspiracy and politics of all descriptions… it is time for me to turn back to my more eclectic blogging themes:    Flowers, poems, camera work, and tales and ideas from the past, rather than disasters and looming political doom.

 

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