Late Winter, Boston

‘Twas the land that divided us first,
We far flung disparate folk
In colonies hugging the Atlantic shore
Or placed along rivers that slice through the land
With all of our differences: slaveholders, free
Farmers and merchants, tradesmen, sailors
From Portsmouth to Georgia, a rabble of souls
Of Quakers and Catholics, of Pilgrims and tribes
All eager to claim what they could of this place.

The living was good on our Braintree farm.
Mr. Adams was busy with lawyerly goals
Seeking justice and fairness no matter how dear
Was his time with our family. Away, he was,
For weeks at a time, Philadelphia, New York,
Wherever his wisdom and mettle were needed.
Our fine correspondence let our hearts beat together
Despite all the turnpikes and rivers between.

We ladies stepped out in fashionable dress
Sipped tea with our neighbors, yet saw to our tasks.
Society sparkled with parties and balls.
One dinner had three hundred guests at a time
With friends or acquaintances and likely some strangers
Including the governor. What a time!

‘Twas the tea that united us.
That baneful herb, that treacherous brew
Hath brought America to this dreadful day
With whispers and spying, with fear and mistrust.
King George is our sovereign, all British are we.
But now shaken, now wary, both sides poise to win
Neither side willing to lose.

New Governor Gage is not a bad fellow
But sent here to tame us, his charge is anathema:
Subdue all the countryside, rein in the renegades
Punish the leaders, destroyers of tea.
Neither Gage nor Parliament, Regulars or George
Are likely to prevail in America this way.
A people without a king is still a people.
Yet a king without a people is no longer a king.
This is most certainly our present case.
Why not proclaim to the world most decisively
Our own independence?

America is in a state of rebellion.
Boston is facing a terrible war.
I hold my breath in fear.