Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Last Call

One by one across the water
March captains, privates, generals, all.
One by one they leave the struggle;
One by one they heed the call.
Leaders, servants, fighters, clerks;
Brave men, wise men,
Rash men, fools;
Learnéd men and laborers,
Men of thought and men of tools.
One by one across the water;
One by one they leave the fight.
How their hearts burst forth in laughter
As the darkness yields to light!
Captains, privates, generals, cooks—
Good men, brave men, heroes all—
Dearest comrades greet their coming
to the final muster call.
How the ranks stretch on to Glory!
How sweet sings out the bugle’s tone!
'Til their Captain signals silence—
"Peace, my brothers. Welcome home."

In memory of Corporal (T-5) Asa Ambrister, US Army, 1942-1946. Veteran, attorney, husband, father, grandfather, and my father-in-law.

July 23, 1924 September 26, 2008.

©2008 by Howard Shirley

--- Howard Shirley

Friday, September 19, 2008


It be Talk Like A Pirate Day, matey!

Aye, 'tis the day when true gentlemen and ladies o' fortune bespeak each other in the grand manner o' the pirates of old. (Or at least classic Hollywood). So buckle on yer swash, swagger up to yer mates and give 'em a hearty "Aaarrrghhh!!!"

An if ye be in need o' some piratey inspiration, set sail for yer local treasure place o' books and fill yer hold with some old sea tales:

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, the father of such grand piratey sayings as: "Fifteen men on a dead man's chest, yo ho ho and a bottle o' rum," and "Pieces of Eight!"

Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini. 'Tis a tale of adventure, romance, and heroism on the high seas, and the source of the classic Errol Flynn flick. A must for every pirate library! Aarrghh!

The Dark Frigate by Charles Boardman Hawes. A spirited lad of England ships aboard a merchant vessel, only to run afoul of a cruel pirate captain who forces him to join his crew. These be real pirates, lad, not some lubbers in a silly hat. A Newbery winner, which is better than a gold doubloon!

The Wreckers by Iian Lawrence. Not all pirates ply the seas, mateys. On a stormy night, the lights on the shore may not be friends o' the sailor...

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. 'Tis not a tale o' piracy, but 'tis a grand sea tale just the same. A thirteen year old landlubber of a girl must learn the ways o' the sea when she's caught between a mutinous crew and their captain... and winds up accused of murder. Picked up a bit o' silver from the Newbery crew, and that's no treasure to sneer at!

There be plenty more good books (and some fine bits o' film too) to fill yer piratey sails, so keep a weather eye out, yer sails taut, and yer powder dry!


--- Cap'n Howarrghd P-)