eClassics: The Midnight Ride of Sarah Palin

Colonial Palin

Another one from ‘the vault’ to celebrate the silly season of politics. A lot of people missed the apolitical point of this post, which was that it was all just a tempest in a teapot:

Listen my children to a tale in error
Of the midnight ride of Palin, Sarah
On the tenth of June, in Twenty-eleven;
Many a reporter is now in heaven
Who remembers that famous day and year.

She said to her friend, “If the Alaskans power
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry tower
Of the North Church arch as a signal light,–
One if by ‘Times, and two if by ‘Post;
And I on the opposite shore will at most,
Be ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Juneau village and farm,
That the lamestream-press means to do me harm!”

Then she said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar
Silently steered to the New Hampshire shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her RV lay
The NY Times, American man-of-war;
A phantom Grey Lady, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, her friends through alley and street
Wandered and watched, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around her she hears
The muster of newsmen at the office door,
The sound of typing, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the cop-iers,
Marching down to their presses on the shore.

Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That she could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it fell
Creeping along from dell to dell,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only she feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
For suddenly all her thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
A line of six boxes that bends and floats
Of 24,199 e-Mails like a bridge of boats.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in her flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
She has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath her, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of her steed as she rides.

It was 9 am by the village clock,
When she came to the bridge in Juneau town.
She heard the bleating of the flock,
And the Twitter of Droids among the trees,
And felt the breath of the Daily Breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.

You know the rest. In the papers you have read…

So through the night rode Sarah Palin;
And so through the night went her cry of alarm
To every Juneau village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to wailin’
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the e-Mail message of Sarah Palin.

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