Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tea at the Empress HOtel

(I don't want to talk about Valley Forge, about men suffering and starving and dying in the snow.  This is a poem I read with my kids.  We watched the movies, we read the articles, we outlined the vocabulary, we wrote the reflection papers... they get it. Valley Forge was rock bottom for General Washington... and I hope your rock bottom is nothing like his.)

"O'er town and cottage, vale and height
Down came the winter, fierce and white
And shuddering wildly, as distraught
At horrors his own hand had wrought." -Valley Forge, Thomas Buchanan Read
(What I'd much rather do is talk about the exquisite tea service at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada.)

"In vain the hearths were set aglow
In vain the evening lamps were lighted
To cheer the dreary realm of snow
Old winter's brow would not be smoothed
Nor the young year's wailing soothed."  -Valley Forge, Thomas Buchanan Read
(I'd much rather discuss the awesome shopping centers and cool architecture the city has.)

"But wilder, fiercer, sadder still
Freezing the tear it caused to start
Was the inevitable chill
Which pierced a nation's agued heart...
Where every blast that whistled by
Was bitter with its children's cry."  -Valley Forge, Thomas Buchanan Read
(I'd much rather tease my youngest daughter for how 'hangry' she gets when her miso soup is late.)

"Where every path by a soldier beat
Or every track where a sentinel stood
Still held the print of naked feet
And oft the crimson stains of blood
Where famine held her spectral court..."  -Valley Forge, Thomas Buchanan Read
(Or praise the merits of sharing an umbrella with a pal.)

"She ever loved a camp or fort
Beleaguered by the wintry skies
But chiefly when disease is by
To sink the frame and dim the eye." -Valley Forge, Thomas Buchanan Read
(I do not want to discuss the merits of taking a paddle boat through freezing Victoria harbor.)

"Such was the winter that prevailed
Within the crowded, frozen gorge
Such were the horrors that assailed
The patriot band at Valley Forge."  -Valley Forge, Thomas Buchanan Read
(Especially when there are so many wild totem poles to climb.)

"It was a midnight storm of woes
To clear the sky for Freedom's morn
And such must ever be the throes
The hour when liberty is born."  -Valley Forge, Thomas Buchanan Read
(Or bagpipe players to harass.)

"The chieftain, by his evening lamp
Whose flame scarce cheered the hazy damp..." -Valley Forge, Thomas Buchanan Read
(We all have our own Valley Forges to pass through... so enough.  I will say, leaving Victoria by ferry... felt pretty darn good.  See ya, Canada!)

"Sat trolling o'er some giant plan
With maps and charts before his spread
Beholding in his warrior scan
The paths which through the future led."  -Valley Forge, Thomas Buchanan Read

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