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THE BOSTON TRAVELLER

T’Garney, T’Garney, T’Garney
(Some of it rhymes, some of it scans, but keep your eye on the meter.)

THE BOSTON TRAVELLER
Or West Newton’s Law (Force = MA)

In eighteen-ninety-seven Henry Adams thought he saw
The world turned faster and was more complex,
But it was a poor deduction for a man of his acumen.
What happened was that Mardie hit the decks.

Was ‘ninety-seven spinning
Before the car, the phone, the jet?
As Mardie said to Henry,
“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Goethe traveled far—in Weimar,
And Thoreau stayed close to his pond,
But Mardie is hardy—you hardly can time her.
First she’s here, then she’s there and beyond.

Let beatniks beat and hippies hip,
Mardie’s ready to take a trip.

When most Bostonians travel
They go by way of Dedham.
When her feet kick up the gravel,
They go any way she heads ‘em.

Via Rimini and Oslo,
Delos and the Marble Arch,
It may be that she’ll show
Up here, in August or in March.

When the sputnik was invented,
And the astronauts climbed in,
It seemed a very risky thing to do,
But we have a faded photo,
Taken many years ago,
Of Mardie in a biplane built for two.

So we had some anxious moments
When we saw the rockets race.
It seemed likely it was Mardie
On her way to outer space.

I think she’s in Hawaii,
But it may be Puerto Rico,
Or London or Miami Beach or Rome,
But if it isn’t Athens,
Or Spokane or Tallahassee,
It may be that you’ll find her there at home.

But they tell me she has moved again,
And I don’t know where to look.
She has emptied out the attic
And thrown out all the books.

If you’re looking for the front door,
She has moved it round in back.
The kitchen’s on the top floor,
And she’s given Cook the sack.

But now we’ve pinned her down
And have her where we want her,
Outnumbered by more than few.
The point is that we have a message to deliver,
To wit:
We often don’t know where you are,
But where would we be without you?

Epilogue

When Justice Holmes was ninety
And he saw a pretty wench,
He turned and watched her with a lecherous stare.
Then, with just a gentle sigh, he
Said to his companion on the bench,
“How I wish that I were seventy once more.”

The moral of that poem’s
Watch out for Justice Holmes.

rwb 1967

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