Favorite Poems Throughout My Life
26: “Old Ironsides,”1830, by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–94)
A poem that I used to teach—
And ask the kids to memorize.
A poem that, I found, could reach
So many of them (no surprise).
I saw the ship in Boston once—
It’s still commissioned, USN.
I toured it. Taught it. (I’m no dunce!)
And learned a lot ’bout Way Back When.
I read a lot of Holmes, as well.
(His novels* can be quite a trip!)
And learned a simple lesson, too:
That poetry can save a ship.
*Elsie Venner (1861), The Guardian Angel (1867), A Mortal Antipathy (1885). Wild and fun to read.