"Old Ironsides" is one of my favorite poems. Written by Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1830, it speaks against the destruction of the USS Consituition, a warship from the War of 1812.
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!
Oh, 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 threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!
I memorized most of this in one sitting when I was watching my baby brother take a bath. It must have been a long one! I never forgot it, and for years, I have quoted it when I was trying to be patient about something. For example, when I used to be hauling buckets of water at my parents' farm, I would tell myself I could keep enduring until the end of the poem. Kind of dramatic, but it worked!
And now for a crazy picture from 2005!
Isn't it crazy to see a glimpse of the 'old world' mixed with a modern city?