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Dan Speers

Citizen Poet
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The Pride of Massachusetts           

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

1917 - 1963

 

Tired, aching, lonely.

Pain to hide, to sleep away.

Awake. Face the day.

Robert Francis Kennedy 

1925 - 1968

 

The pen conquers dark

writing of light. Conquers death

by writing of life.

Edward Moore Kennedy 

1932 - 2009

 

Write then. Tell them all.

Let the children know what came

What was. Who. Again.

  a tribute . . .  The Pride of Massachusettes  

                        --a poem about this family, this tribe, this pride of lions . . . and this       Ted's Song   

 

Public Reading: Tribute to Sen. Edward Kennedy, Health Care Visibility and Vigil, GAR Park, Haverhill, MA Sept. 2, 2009
Frist Published: Greater Haverhill for Obama,
www.haverhillforobama.com, Sept. 3, 2009.           Poems copyright 2009, Dan Speers

 

Haliban, Haiku,  John Fitzgerald Kenney  and  Robert Francis Kennedy, copyright 2007, Dan Speers; Edward Moore Kenney, copyright 2009, Dan Speers

Ted's Song

 

by Dan Speers

 

Raise your voices those among us who came

As immigrants and stayed because of him

Faces from nations not always the same,

Ted's song, a new American anthem

Began in Nineteen-hundred, sixty-five.

Raise your voices those of us who survive,

Those the War on Cancer has kept alive,

Ted's law would never allow hope to dim

Therapy a goal, but a cure the aim.

Never knowing what was growing in him

Until bitter irony called his name.

 

Raise your voices those among us who play

Because of Title Nine's equality

Athletics for women have shown the way

At colleges and university,

A requirement Ted made  compelling law.

Raise your voices those among us who saw

In strength of purpose, the resolute jaw

Battling for racial diversity

To win Martin Luther King's holiday

While holding forth for commensality

In affirmative action today.

 

Raise your voices those among us who cast

Election ballots when we turn eighteen.

This by the man who got student loans passed.

Who devoted his life to other's dreams--

Workplace safety, mine safety, fair wages

The right to organize, minimum wages.

Raise your voices those of us of ages

To recall his fight against Jesses' schemes

But helping Helms down stairs before he passed,

Ted turned his ire on apartheid extremes

So bad he got vetoed sanctions re-passed.

 

Raise your voices those among us who take

Time off for family medical leave

Or rely on CHIP for our children's sake,

Or WIC for our nutrition to receive

Or CARE for our AIDs medication

Or COBRA after job termination.

For the disabled, remediation.

Ted's song to us was for us to achieve.

Raise your voices all of us who partake

In honoring him who chose to believe

That the value of life is ours to make.

The Pride of Massachusetts

 

                 By Dan Speers

 

We have tradition here in New England

A tradition of hearty stock

Robust men who stand as tall as mountains

Women, sharp of mind, strong of heart.

Pioneers and sailors, merchants, tailors,

Poets and shop keepers, teachers

Fishermen and farmers, bar keeps, whalers

Seamstresses and bakers, preachers.

Matters not the job, the task, but how well

The work is done, what works gets

Is a job well done, and what is done well

Is the pride of Massachusetts

 

Founded by accident, the Mayflower

Choosing Plymouth Bay, name and place

That was the winter that wrought the power

Born and  tempered in a furnace

Forging men and women of fire and ice,

Of endurance, sense of purpose

Self-reliant, strength of granite, and eyes

No king ever again would close.

Or oppose liberty's custodians

For that which was spawned in Essex

Grew to founders and protectors, guardians

These, the pride of Massachusetts.

 

When trial comes calling, all rise, persevere

The Adams, Sam, John and John Q.

Ben Franklin, John Hancock and Paul Revere

Heroes change, to name just a few,

Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony,

Sharon Christa McAuliffe. Gone.

John and Robert, now Teddy Kennedy

Heroes held high, with us belong

Teddy's not the first, he isn't the last,

Nor do we know who will be next

But he or she, like Teddy, will stand fast.

As the Pride of Massachusetts.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ted, his name engraved in granite,

Body engraved in our planet.