07 February 2016

Preparing, Prepared




Charleston
By Henry Timrod

Calm as that second summer which precedes
The first fall of the snow,
In the broad sunlight of heroic deeds,
The City bides the foe.

As yet, behind their ramparts stern and proud,
Her bolted thunders sleep—
Dark Sumter, like a battlemented cloud,
Looms o’er the solemn deep.

No Calpe frowns from lofty cliff or scar
To guard the holy strand;
But Moultrie holds in leash her dogs of war
Above the level sand.

And down the dunes a thousand guns lie couched,
Unseen, beside the flood—
Like tigers in some Orient jungle crouched
That wait and watch for blood.

Meanwhile, through streets still echoing with trade,
Walk grave and thoughtful men,
Whose hands may one day wield the patriot’s blade
As lightly as the pen.

And maidens, with such eyes as would grow dim
Over a bleeding hound,
Seem each one to have caught the strength of him
Whose sword she sadly bound.

Thus girt without and garrisoned at home,
Day patient following day,
Old Charleston looks from roof, and spire, and dome,
Across her tranquil bay.

Ships, through a hundred foes, from Saxon lands
And spicy Indian ports,
Bring Saxon steel and iron to her hands,
And summer to her courts.

But still, along you dim Atlantic line,
The only hostile smoke
Creeps like a harmless mist above the brine,
From some frail, floating oak.

Shall the spring dawn, and she still clad in smiles,
And with an unscathed brow,
Rest in the strong arms of her palm-crowned isles,
As fair and free as now?

We know not; in the temple of the Fates
God has inscribed her doom;
And, all untroubled in her faith, she waits
The triumph or the tomb
.

3 comments:

Janet said...

Wow. Certainly a poem for our times.

Thank you formthe morning read.

Bsdouglass said...

Dylan seems to have read the poor tragic poet laureate of the palmetto republic. He is as far as I know one of the few who carry on his words. #cryptoconfederate

Stoop, angels, hither from the skies!
There is no holier spot of ground,
Than where defeated valor lies
By mourning beauty crowned.

JBQ said...

As someone who was stationed for 4 years at the Naval Base, I would comment. The battery is downtown facing Ft. Sumter surrounded by million dollar properties. Downtown is surrounded by a burnt out area leading on to very poor black areas. Bishop England High School was downtown for many years and a symbol of Irish Catholic representation in the Confederacy. Hurricane Hugo came up the Charleston River tearing down 200 year old trees and causing the closure of the naval base. The old slave mart is now a shopping mall with the original slave sheds evolving into various shops. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago had his start as the administrator of Bishop England High School which is now in the suburbs. Charleston through contacts with the chaplain at the Citadel is the center for devil worship on the East Coast compared to San Francisco on the West. Malachi Martin, Jesuit advisor to the pope at Vatican II who died in 1999, wrote of a satanic incident which occurred in Charleston.