Living History

Cannon Square, Stonington, Connecticut. Photo: Wikipedia

28 November 2021

By Philip Kuepper

Though more
than two centuries ago, now,
when Stonington was raped
by war, I still read in the waters,
breasting its shores, the blades
(in how little whirlpools will disk the water,
as though made by ghostly blades)
of the oarsmen who rowed
the boats of truce, to and fro,
between British warships and the town,
boats that carried written
missives of warning, or of cease-fire,
gentlemen to gentlemen. Imagine,

a civil war!, an oxymoron in the making,
where the aggressor, concerned
for unarmed civilians, requests,
in writing, they leave the town
before bombardment begins,
and the townsmen, in reply, asking
why the were being assaulted,
and the rowers of the boats of truce
not once fired on by either opposing side.

The canons used to defend the town
still stand on the green.
I have touched the reality of them.
They are dumb of sound, now,
empty of shot. Yet I can imagine
their climactic loads shooting out
onto the cumbersome ships
of the seaborne enemy.

Today?
A jet would strafe
everything in seconds,
and discuss it,
afterwards.

(23 November 2021)

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