Submission to the Newburyport High School
Annual Favorite Poem Project ~ Spring 2009 ~
launching "The Year of Charting (New) Courses"
(March 25, 2009 - March 24, 2010)

© 2002/2006 Bright iDear ~
a composite of the stained glass tiles
on the bollards marking the
historic "wayes" to the Waterside



Submitting an entry to the NHS "Annual Favorite Poem Project" each spring offers immense "synergy" during the transition of the old style calendar year (March 25 – March 24) ...
This “poetry in motion” helps further the mission of the old style (Julian) calendar year "term" (of progress) for the Waterside community and beyond. For while selection of a "proem" had been a tradition to remark each year --- in the scheme of things, knowing the full context shall be reviewed and discussed by the NHS students of "Poetry Soup" and "The Record" is of great import and moment.

Taking a different tack for this old style calendar year ~ "The Year of Charting (New) Courses" (March 25, 2009 - March 24, 2010) ~ the committee (or Comity, so called) has submitted a medley of lyrics:


For to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto."

[Of course, Emerson also has been quoted to have quipped, “I hate quotations.  Tell me what you know.”  Thus and so, certain knowledge about "who we are, and for what, whence and whereto" is noted (and footnoted) below.

~~~ MEDLEY ~~~

One Thought Ever at the Fore
by Walt Whitman [one of thirteen poems (free verse) published under the rubric "Old Age Echoes," written the year before Whitman’s death in 1892, and published posthumously later that year. Music arrangement of Whitman's profound verse ~ composed for piano and voice (choral revels) by Ernst Bacon (1892 - 1990) ~ soon to be posted to the Library of Congress song collection at this link without.]

One thought ever at the fore ---
That in the Divine Ship, The World, breasting Time and Space,
All Peoples of the globe together sail,
Sail the same voyage, are bound to the same destination.

The Ship Is Ready
A favorite song written by Miss Hannah Flagg Gould [2]
Music composed/inscribed by O. Shaw (Oliver J. Shaw) © 1833 (Original sheet music, researched/resourced courtesy of the Newburyport Public Library Public Archive [scanned and formatted as pdf file at this link within)

Fare the well! The ship is ready.
And the breeze is fresh and steady.
Hands are fast, the anchor weighing.
High in the air, the streamers playing
Spread the sails, the waves are swelling
Proudly round thy buoyant dwelling.
Fare thee well!  And when at sea
Think of those that sigh for thee.

Think of those that sigh for thee. (repeat line)
Think of those that sigh --- that sigh --- for thee.

When from home and land receding
And from hearts that ache to bleeding,
Think of those behind who love thee
While the sun is bright above thee!
Then as down to ocean glancing,
With the waves his rays are dancing,
Think how long the night will be
To the eyes that weep for thee.

When the lonely night watch keeping,
All below thee still and sleeping ---
As the needle points the quarter
On the wide and trackless waters,
Let thy vigils ever find thee
Mindful of the friends behind thee!
Let thy bosom’s magnet be
Turned to those that wake for thee.

With the slow and gentle motion
Heaves the bosom of the ocean ---
While in peace thy bark is riding
And the silver moon is gliding
O’er the sky with tranquil splendour
Where the shining hosts attend her.
Let thy brightest visions be,
Country, home and friend to thee!

Come Home!  Come Home!
Lyrics by Hannah F. Gould [2]
Music composed by Miss Clarke © 1846 (Original sheet music, researched/resourced courtesy of the Newburyport Public Library Public Archive [scanned and formatted as pdf file at this link within)

(A Call to our transmarine absentee ~
Two voices ~
Written & respectfully inscribed to ~
Those who may join in the strain)

Come home! Come home, from o'er the sea!
We wait, we sigh, we pray for thee.
In foreign climes, no longer roam.
Our hearts all cry:  Come home!  Come home!

For twice her sheaf both Autumn bound,
The winter snow, twice wrapt the ground;
The spring hath bloom'd, the summer shone.
In glorious robes since thou art gone.
And now again, her evening breeze
Comes murmuring through the rustling trees.
The moon beams bright on spire and dome.
And our own roof.  Come home!  Come home!

Tonight, when passed the sunset hour
And dews fell soft on grass and flower; ---
A wild bird came, and furled her wing
On thy sweet bower, her hymn to sing.
The earth was calm, the heavens were fair,
While balmy incense filled the air;
All nature seemed on bended knee;
And to her God we kneeled for thee.

We asked his Angel guard to keep
Thy way across the rolling deep;
Through billowy wilds, 'mid surge and foam,
To hold thee safe!  Come home!  Come home!
And now, when sleep has sealed our eyes,
In blissful dreams, our souls will rise
On wings of love, and fly to thee,
Where e-er thou art, beyond the sea.

But, ah! too soon, returning day
The dear deceit will melt away,
And beaming morn illume tear,
To find thy place still empty here.
Come home!  Our lives they go apace;
And we may leave some empty space
For thee to find, if still thou roam
O’er lands afar.  Come home!  Come home!

Go Say
(Find Your Way Home)
Music and Lyrics by Ryan Gaughan, Track 12 on "Happy History" album, © 2008 Among Criminals
~ (refer to footnote 1 for more context)

This text will be replaced by the flash music player.
Click to listen to "Go Say!" ~ track 12 on "Happy History" © 2008 Among Criminals. The band's website links to typical social networks. SMILE to net a cache of recordings, videos & album releases. Catch Among Criminals live when, where & if you can.

I come in peace to your home;
My one-track mind is now a two-way road.

No watchful eye, just wishful words;
I’ll kill my pride with what I’ve learned.
A wise man knows he knows nothing at all;
And pride’s the last straw that will make you fall.
Content is peace; pleasure is greed:
I’ll turn my head to what I need.

Go say, go say!  You’ll find your way,
Go say, go say!  You’ll find your way,
Go Say, go say!  You’ll find your way,
Go say, go say!  You’ll find your own way home.

Put some color back into your home.
Don’t let them cut you down or stunt your growth.
Then take these stories overseas:
You’ve got to learn before you teach.
Go say, go say!  You’ll find your way,
Go say, go say!  You’ll find your way,
Go say, go say!  You’ll find your way.
Go say, go say!  You’ll find your own way home.

[Note further (con)notation with T. S. Eliot’s "Four Quartets" footnoted below.]


~~~ WHO WE ARE ~~~

The Comity is not an organization, but an organic movement here in the Waterside community of Newburyport --- comprising all generations of the Waterside and the Waterside people --- whether born here or drawn here, for a time, a lifetime or a pastime.  This submission (and mission) is forwarded on their behalf.  We encourage the mind-traveling reader to SMILE (Seek More Information/insight Logged/linked Electronically) at the website, particularly the hyperlinks at and

~~~ AND FOR WHAT ~~~

Citing the insight offered in “Newburyport Daily News” article entitled, “Have a favorite poem?  NHS class wants to hear it” published on March 13, 2009, archived at the hyperlink --- “The point of the project is not necessarily for people to send in their favorite piece of poetry but instead a piece that means something important in their lives.”

~~~ AND WHENCE (defined as “from what place, source, or cause”) ~~~

Thus and so, each year, this “proem” (prelude, preface is important to the individual and collective lives (and life force or “whence”) of community (local, national and global).  For just cause (and just because) of the shared experience (both expression and impression).  While delighted for any opportunity to share the submission with the larger community (on stage), as mentioned above, the selection is posted on page.  But, to reiterate, the fact that each year’s submission may prompt discourse amongst students is the primary objective.  (A tandem exchange to Mrs. Szabo will share a more personal note.)

[NOTE:  If any student is moved to share his or her thoughts, it would be a delight to weave that enlightenment on the (or websites; given three NHS/Poetry Soup “culinary artists” have previously contributed their own creative “food for thought.”]

~~~ AND WHERETO (defined as “to what place, purpose or end””) ~~~

Which is the perfect segue to the “forethought” which begins this medley, Whitman’s free verse entitled “One Thought Ever at the Fore” --- a piece which has been recited/chanted in concert with performance/recording of maritime music (e.g., “sea shanties or “chanties’ ”).  The melodic medley ends with “Go Say” by the band Among Criminals (see footnote 1) --- with a segue to the refrain from T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets” as a colloquy (or counterpoint) duly (foot)noted. 

[NOTE:  The band Among Criminals is renowned for their original “music with a message” and also their “medley” arrangements of “cover songs” which unfold/enfold as a positive theme about positive change in the community (local, national and global).  While these are typically classic and reggae-infused rock “covers” (Jimi Hendrix, The Police, Sublime, The Clash, Rage, Bedouin Soundclash, etcetera) --- when the band was “dry docked” here in port (Newburyport being a “home port” of sorts when touring New England) --- Ryan was given sheet music for the songs, “The Ship Is Ready” and “Come Home, Come Home” (lyrics by Newburyport poet Hannah Flagg Gould, see footnote **).  Along with other compositions, the possibility of arranging the music (and/or message) with a more contemporary “sound” has been considered for celebration (and cerebration) of this milestone year.

Further noting that NHS students were to have sung “The Ship Is Ready” and “Come Home, Come Home” for the City’s Sesquicentennial celebration on June 24, 2001 --- however as fate would have it, the strain went unsung, given the constraints of inclement weather (a deluge of rain).  Howbeit, this year, we hope that more voices will “join in the strain” --- and the music will resonate as a dedication to our “transmarine absentees” (active duty soldiers, particularly those overseas, see footnote ***).  Which makes the “just words” to Among Criminals’ song “Go Say!” all the more poignant a message to restore the “peace and prosperity” of the local, national and global community.]

While the ultimate “purpose” or “end” is not (necessarily) that this submission be selected for recitation at the Literary Festival event held Sunday, April 26 --- we hope that this submission has prompted some discussion between the students.  An alterative measure would be to preview the submission “in a Motion of Comity” at the high tea (to be held in the Marquand library at the Custom House Maritime Museum, coordinated to directly follow the Firehouse event) --- with discourse about charting a course for a later event, gathering momentum.  In/at any/either event, the medley would be abridged (verse highlighted in bold text) as necessary, of course. 

[NOTE:  This year’s high tea will be a special occasion in that it will be a prelude to next year’s Literary Festival which remarks the 50-year milestone of Marquand’s passing --- which is (in part) the “whereto” and “wherefore” for imparting this medley of lyrical melodies as this year’s selection.  As a participant in the J. P. Marquand’s reading/discussion group --- having reread “Wickford Point” © 1939, one of five of the selected books --- have duly noted the recurrent theme in that novel published in 1939 in footnote **** below.  And fully intend to beseech the organizer of the reading/discussion group and the high tea event, Marquand’s granddaughter Beth Welch, to “verse” the passages (at some point in time).]


Admittedly, each year it is difficult to make a selection of a favorite poem, and this year was no easier an assignment, despite the multifarious medley.  (It was particularly difficult to select a favorite composition by Ryan Gaughan from Among Criminals, for our favorite song is always the song to which we are listening at the moment, whether the band’s more recent material or Ryan’s solo work composed when he was an adolescent.   (Some of which has been arranged for performance/recording by the band; he promises to release a new solo acoustic album soon.)

However, especially given the Tall Ships (“The Friendship” and “The Alabama”) will chart their course to visit Newburyport come August --- with many a milestone in the history (and history in the making) of the Waterside (and Merrimack River) to remark that month --- hopefully many to “join in the strain” (to quote the inscribed dedication of the song, “Come Home!  Come Home!”).

For as connoted/denoted at footnote 5 --- this submission is both a beginning and an end:  for the old style (Julian) calendar and the venture we share, in word and deed, during “The Year of Charting (New) Courses.”  Toward peace and prosperity in the community, local, national and globally.  Towardly, speaking (and acting).

“Go Say!”       


~~~~~~ FOOTNOTES ~~~~~~

[1] " Go Say” (Find Your Way Home) is track 12 on the band’s second LP “Happy History” © 2008 Among Criminals --- released a month after last year’s favorite poetry project’s deadline, when the band was on the road during their first nationwide tour.  Noting the band’s return to the Waterside in July after ending their second nationwide tour --- --- hope that you will find an opportunity to join Among Criminals in concert (and conversation) here in port.  See footnote 6 which follows. And SMILE (Seek More Information/insight Logged/linked/loomed Electronically about the song & the signficance of iits title at this link within.

[2] Hannah Flagg Gould was a local Newburyport poet in the 19th Century, see Google books search at hyperlink at for a selection of her prolific works, see hyperlink at

The year that the Waterside movement was launched anew in 1999 also marked a generational milestone (21 years, this being 7 generations of 30 years) of Hannah’s birth (in 1789).  Thus Hannah’s “voice” was to resonate that year --- with the aforementioned pieces (“The Ship is Ready” and “Come Home, Come Home,” sheet music uncovered in the Newburyport Archive Room well before its renovation in 2001) woven into the overall motif.

As mentioned above, had hoped that NHS students to sing the two songs at a celebratory event to mark a milestone in the Waterside’s history in 2001:  the 150th (sesquicentennial) anniversary of Newburyport’s incorporation as a city form of government, with its present bounds).   Officially part of the steering committee for the celebratory events, Comity had hoped this would come to fruition --- but to quote from the lyrics from Among Criminals song, “Time Bomb,” (from the band’s first album, “Kill the Myth” © 2007 Among Criminals:  “It’s easy to seed, but hard to grow”).   

[3] Noting the article in a recent edition of the Daily News entitled, “Project  Blue Star honors active-duty service members” (see hyperlink at regarding the dedication of the plaque at Newburyport City Hall, as well as the front page piece about the financial stress endured by veterans were duly noted.

[4] Passages from J. P. Marquand’s autobiographical novel, “Wickford Point” (alias for his Curzon Mill homestead in Newburyport, MA) evoke the theme of “the ship” and “island.”

From page 104, noting that the third person plural pronoun “they” refers to Marquand’s alter ego Jim Calder’s extended family (and “the help” at Wickford Point):

“… They were all standing there --- as people had always stood at Wickford Point when someone was leaving, half-listlessly and half-wistfully, like dwellers on an island watch a ship sail --- making their last requests now that we were going into the outer world. …”

That metaphor continues on page 179:

“I have a different impression of Wickford Point today from any I had then.  Just now, I can see that Wickford Point was like a floating island that once had been solidly attached to the mainland.  I can see it being severed from realities when I was still very young, and drifting off, a self-contained entity, into a misty sea.  It was land almost entirely sufficient unto itself, and governed by the untutuored thoughts of women --- although this does not mean that others did not assert themselves.”

And again on page 184, he writes in Jim’s voice:

“ …  Still I prefer to think of Wickford Point as I have started --- breaking from the land most of us know, and floating off into miasmic haze.  It was not a bad island either, as such places go, but dangerous for strangers if they chose to stay too long.

“I reached the mainland just in time when I was going on eighteen. …”

Continuing on page 185, Jim’s exchange with Mr. Morrissey, the caretaker at Wickford Point who took Jim to the station:

“  ‘I’ll be back tonight,’ I said.  ‘I’ll take the (trolley) car and walk back through the woods.’ …

“ ‘I’m thinking you won’t be back for some time, Jim’ he said.

“ ‘You’re crazy, Morrissey,’ I said.  ‘Good-by.’  But Mr. Morrissey was not crazy.  It was a long while before I came back again to Wickford Point, not perhaps in the space of measured time, but in the important measure of experience.  …  I might see Wickford Point and I might love it still, but I would never be the part of it which I had been once. Wickford Point could work no magic for me out where I was going.  …”

On page 406, toward the closing chapters of the novel, Jim again reflects upon his return:

“No matter how often I came to Wickford Point there was an indefinable excitement about the first sight of it, a sense of relief that it was still there waiting.  It did not matter whether I had been away for years or for just a day or two, the expectation was the same. There was nothing like it anywhere, and all the people who had lived there and all the things that had happened were waiting for my return. ...”

Continuing that train of thought on page 408:

“… It was the same as always.  When anyone arrived at Wickford Point, it was like a ship arriving at an island.  …”

[5] Thus, a ply of T. S. Eliot's theme throughout his "Four Quartets" seemingly the perfect knit:

“... And so each venture
Is a new beginning ...

What we call the beginning is often the end,
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.  And every phrase
And sentence that is right, where every word is at home …”

“… Home is where one starts from …”

As Ryan Gaughan of Among Criminals appeals in refrain:  “Go Say!  Go Say!  You’ll find your way home!”

[6] With the opportunity for further discourse, setting the course for a “(per)adventure with the “Poetry Soup” group --- focusing on “just words to music” --- and the relationship of “music with a message” --- and writing lyrics in general --- potentially coordinated when the band Among Criminals returns to port.  If of interest, a “supposal” about such event can be forwarded in a Motion of Comity --- after which we might collaborate/elaborate on a “Plan in Motion.”    



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