April is National Poetry Month - And we're still trying to Make Sense of the Civil War...
So, you may know April is National Poetry Month—not only that, but this month, Lowell continues its observance of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War with an exciting photography exhibit “Lowell Remembers The Civil War 1861-1865” over at the Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center. You’ll want to mark your calendars for the opening reception featuring a lecture by Richard P. Howe, Jr. “Making Sense of the Civil War” Sunday, April 15 from 2-4pm.
The exhibit features the photographic talents of our own reference librarian Tony Sampas. Tony has graciously let me post one of the featured pictures here. The photo depicts the Pollard’s piece of the ironside Monitor—available for viewing on the 1st floor landing of the Grand Staircase—ironically enough, right next to our National Poetry Month display. I thought it might be nice to pair with Oliver Wendell Holmes’ “Old Ironsides” poem and Tony agreed. So Enjoy! (exclamation point emphatically used on purpose! in the spirit of the poem!)
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon’s roar;—
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more!
Her deck, once red with heroes’ blood
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o’er the flood
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor’s tread,
Or know the conquered knee;—
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!
O better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every thread-bare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,—
The lightning and the gale!
—Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)