Boston, April 18, 10:30 pm
Knitting by the hearth that fatefilled night
and yawning from the toil of daily chores,
I thought to get myself abed but roused
to hear that unexpected signal sound–
The whistle of my courting Tom
came from the street beyond.
“What Hail! ‘Tis late!” I chided him.
From opened sash I queried why he came.
“Revere must warn the shire of marching troops.
We row across the Charles,” said my beloved Tom.
“Beneath the Somerset, the man-o-war that lies
Mid-river, sentry-like, to snare
all careless rebels who pass near.
We can cheat the moonlight, fool the guards,
but some cloth we need to quiet
creak of oars on gunwale’s lip
lest scrape of wood on wood betray our going out.
Some towel or scrap I beg of thee
to wrap on locks to mask our passing by.”
“Ah! Wait!” I said, and stepping back
away from window view and lamp,
I loosened laces from my petticoat
and drawing it from ‘neath my gown
I flipped the fabric out to Tom. And
catching it, he was away at once
with soft-said thanks, my clothes
still warm from limbs and hearth.
Daughter of Liberty myself, I did not mind
The loss of homespun linsey-woolsey shift.
‘Twould keep the rebel rowers safe from harm.
If asked I would have sacrificed
what all was needed on that night.
I was pleased, though, that I had donned
a simple garment on that breaking dawn
and not my fancy shift of indigo.