Phoenix Tale 

Jefferson was convinced that Burr was not a man to be trusted, the upcoming election could not have him in a prominent place and all Republicans agreed that the ticket would have to be adjusted.

Burr, once dropped by Jefferson, resolved to make his West, his scheming nature was planning something  big, grand and full of promise, those fast Spanish and Louisiana territories could be his own kingdom and in his mind his mission was most assuredly blessed. 

In the end, Burr, would be charged with treason and acquitted and Jefferson, far from defending him, would claim executive privilege.

I will raise a western army and form a separate government with myself at the helm.

I have met with Harman Blannerhassett whose land on the Ohio I will use as a base, he has provided men and supplies and now I will recruit volunteers, Mexicans and the support of important men.

Once conquered, this new republic will be my personal ruling realm, I will contact the Spanish minister and reveal my plans to him, plans to include capturing Washington D.C. 

Surely they will come along to protect their empire from American expansion?

the Spaniard gave Burr thousands of dollars and then sat back to wait and see.

By later in 1806 Burr was building an army and stashing them on Blannerhassett Island, Ohio’s governor grew suspicious and ordered the militia to strike.

Escaping with just one boat, Blannerhassett, sailed to meet up with Burr and together they sailed to a southern horizon. 

Trying to make it to New Orleans, to more troops supported by Mr. Wilkinson, would be Burr’s undoing and Wilkinson, convinced of treachery and failure revealed the plans to Jefferson.

Having no knowledge of  the betrayal Burr continued what he was doing.

By the second and third month of 1806 attorney Joseph Hamilton wrote to Jefferson about Bird’s plans.

At first Jefferson was inclined to dismiss the gossip as the fruit of politics .

Charges were sought and no indictment was returned it would take Bird’s correspondence, now in Jefferson’s hands, to provoke more interest.

Now that there was interest those letters would get an intensive scan!

Mr. Burr 

He’s a sly one that Mr. Burr!I

Conspiring and plotting ,

He has really drawn the line,

It’s up to me to stop him and to see how plans go rotting ,

Mr. Burr!
You are a traitor Mr. Burr!

You’ve really done it now! 

You’ve committed treason, 

I have the proof in hand, 

Mr. Burr!

You’ve committed treason, I say this not without good reason,

You’ve conspired to conquer parts unknown without the slightest bit of conscience and now your plans are blown,

Mr. Burr! 

I do not believe you,

Mr. Burr!

You are rotten to the core, 

You’re story is untrue,

You are the stuff of lore,

Mr. Burr!

Now that it’s uncovered ,

Your trial will commence,

And you will not be acquitted – Mr. Burr!
Acquitted (Burr’s Reaponse) 

You say I committed treason – well you know! You’ll have to prove it now!

You want me to ask for absolution – well you know! I have done nothing wrong! 

You ask me for a plea of guilty – well you know! I have a right to my defense!

But if you want a trial that’s just for show – all infant tell you brother is that the answer’s no! 

Don’t you know I’m gonna be – Acquitted!

You tell me you have the evidence – well you know I also have the same!

Don’t you know I’m gonna be – Acquitted! 
Phoenix Tale

It has been said that history is written by the winners but the words are often credited to its sinners.

Burr was the winner but remembered as the sinner.

As for treason, Burr would say he had his reasons and in the end he was acquitted, his accusers were outwitted!

Perhaps he is a Phoenix? 

Despite his power grabbing weakness? 

T.S. Deary

Winter at Valley Forge

Some in Congress were plotting to replace Washington with Gates, well aware of his detractors Washington went on with the task at hand deliberating on the questions and the delivery of fate.

Despite the faith placed in Gates Washington behaved as the leader of freedoms cause regardless of circumstance and the temptation to quit his dedication and leadership would earn history’s applause.

By the end of that long and desperate time the army would emerge as a disciplined fighting force, ready to fight, to die of necessary in their prime. 

A deep determination to win took hold in those men, they would not quit, they would stand up to the British and those Jaegers, they would fight with the sword and the words of Paine’s pen. 

II. Valley Forge

Twenty miles northwest of Philadelphia is Valley Forge, named for an iron forge on Valley Creek in White Marsh Pennsylvania, the American Army sought refuge there far from the reach of King George. 

The forested plateau of Mt. Joy as the adjoining Mt. Misery made for easy defense, abundant forests and the Skuykill River to the north, close enough to keep an eye on the British to Washington the area made sense. 

Those battered Continentals arrived in December, cold, tired, hungry, barely an army at all, this would be a time they would always remember.

Washington ordered the men to build huts to his specifications, one but required eighty logs and two windows were to be cut into it ax h dwelling some of the twelve thousand men would live in them and some would be used as hospitals for patients 

From his quarters Washington set about advocating for his army stating that they would either disperse, dissolve or starve, the British needed only to wait for Spring to destry, he wrote to Congress with tact and deliberateness but repeated to himself that these reports alarm me! 

A Private from Connecticut, Joseph Plumb Martin, wrote Don his thoughts, in such a miserable condition he was still determined to see the fight to conclusion and all through the camp the huge were consteucted, little homes on once worked lots.

The surgeon Waldo recorded the conditions of his home at the camp, the smoke in his eyes, vommiting up what little food he had, wishing he was home, feeling less and less like a surprise from and more like a tramp. 

III. Letters to Congress

December 22, 1777

There are no animals left to slaughter, I am told to hold this army together as if I am some sort of cotter.

There are no more than 25 barrels of flour gettin more is beyond my power and no man has ever been more impeded than myself yet you expect me to keep telling each soldier to assert oneself.

Many soldiers have only one shirt, some are naked and sleeping on a cabin floor of dirt.

Many cannot perform duty for want of shoes but there is still more unfortunate news. 

Son this cause will be vacated and I implore you to listen because ultimately this cause for freedom will be devastated.

I assure you it my awareness of our difference in circumstance and of how much I as if it is to say “take a chance” when you are home and well fed and then there are those soldiers lying in the frost half dead.

I have made my predicament humbly plain and there is nothing I can do to relieve their pain. 

Letter to Wm. Buchanan

There is no ability of Congress that can alleviate the issue of provisions they simply must gather their courage and make some difficult decisions.

Desertions are daily increasing and the cries of hunger and sickness are far from acquiesing.

There is not the least prospect of help according to Mr. Blaine and that only adds to my pity for these poor soldiers pain. 

Info not write to blame rather representing the condition of this army is my only true aim. 

IV. The General’s Orders 

Each brigade is to dispatch an able bodied man each according to his plan to collect, flour, grain, cattle and pork, we must give these soldiers more than an empty fork.

Tell the me to take along blankets and rifles this growing number we must stifle.

Of the soldiers take a census and of their condition form a consensus.

The rolls will be called with regularity and anyone caught riding a horse or wagon in or out of camp will be punished with severity. 

From Poor’s Brigade Orderly Book: the commanding officer of each regiment is to appoint an officer to oversee construction of huts look to the surrounding forests to provide logs to be cut.

Overseers will be exempt from all other duty however only the sick and ill- c!othed will be completely off duty.

All are encouraged to do so quickly and with good skill to be rewarded with the sun of twelve dollars from the General’s till.

Due to a shortage of planks a one hundred dollar reward was offered throughout all the ranks to find the best covering to get everyone out of the bad weather and hovering.

the huts are to be 16×16 each year and ends and roots made of logs of beech, make the sides fight a with clay, one door, no windows, no splay, chimneys made of wood and he sure to gather firewood. 

Line the inside with clay eighteen inches thick the fire will make the lining sturdy like brick.

Cut the door near the street, make it out of oak planks 6 1/3 feet high and on the height let no one cheat. 

Washington stayed in his own tent until the huts were finished and then to Pott’s house he went and to Deborah Hewes he paid the rent. 

V. Disease 

From: ” Valley Forge Orderly Book” – ” Every Monday morning regimental surgeons are to make returns to the surgeon  General or in his absence one of the senior surgeons , present in camp, or otherwise under the immediate care of the regimental surgeons, specifying the men’s names, camps, regiments and disease. ”

Small pod ravaged the soldiers, sores, blisters and fevers causing spirits to smolder.

Eventually disease would take 2500 souls ending lives in a choking, blistered fashion, lonely and cold, dying around fires and their ever dwindling coals. 

The weather added to the issue, wet and damp, difficult to get dry and pneumonia inflamed delicate pulmonary tissue.

To protect against smallpox Washington ordered innoculation, surely the men would become I’ll but they would develop immunity.

In the New he this scheme would benefit the nation. 

Washington ordered hospitals to be built, fifteen feet wide, twenty five feet long and nine feet high.

Covered with boards, windows on each side, chimney at one end, the hope was life would be spared seeing how much blood had already been spilt.

There should be two for each brigade, each not more than 100 yards from their station, there the sick and wounded would remain. 

From the diary of Albigence Waldo:

 “December 25 – Christmas. We are still in tents, we ought to be in huts – the poor sick suffer much in tents in this cold weather.”

 VI. Baron von Freidrich Von Steuben

Stueben, the skilled Prussian drill master, tasked with instilling discipline into the men to turn them into fighters who could actually win, drill and drill again…..make them them fall battle ready lines faster and faster.

Tirelessly drill the soldiers, improving their discipline and morale, make men out of these walking boys, broken and dispirited, using his techniques this Army would be ready for a battle royale! 

He wrote drills form the army, a coordinated effort based on European ways he would work with troops directly and speaking profanity in several languages really increased his appeal and his increasing popularity would set the Army ablaze! 

Oh May 6, 1778 the Army showed off its new time promise to celebrate the French alliance, Stueben was handed his commission from Congress and everyone remarked at his accomplishments, surely now this Army could now count on its own reliance. 

Shortly after the Army left Valley Forge and fought the British at Monmouth Courthouse and fought the British to a standstill, those soldiers had a punch behind their new found stepping and fighting bounce! 

A View Through the Eastern Window

No one really understood what flowed through his head, they only thought they knew but to be sure they only knew how emotional content touched a little to close to home for them and they had to back away.

No one knew the storms that raged through his heart and if they did they would not know what to say or do and would only walk away sneaking their heads. 

There was little in their experience to reconcile it with and what there was would only frighten them and inevitable distance would come between them. 

People swore that they could see his emotions rolling off of him, given to extremes was what they always said – but they never really understood where those extremes came from, he tried to explain but no one ever really seemed to listen, again and again the dreams would wake him and he was sure he could see them as they formed around the corners of his mind as they gathered strength for the debut and encores.

On stormy nights the lightning would illuminate the room where he sat and spoke to the darkness, now he is older but still the same in so many ways especially the ways in which he thinks and reacts and then comes back to square one again and again and all the same resolving over and over that no one will ever be able to understand.

He is lonely, afraid and no one knows.

His mind is closed and tucked away out of necessity and self preservation and those closed off places are so weird and twisted that anyone who gets in there would never be able to get out again.

This chronology is laid out clearly to him but is distorted and misleading to everyone else.
He always watched Danny when he was first to go sliding on the thin ice near the rectory and on snow days Kevin was always the first to go down the big hill despite all the danger and in the face of all the excitement.

The parts of him that held back were well known and always running just below the surface, his courage was an unseen courage.

If they knew the thin ice that he walked on in his mind there would have been a lot of admiration and respect but as usual it always went unsaid. 

Bless you father for he has sinned, he is not capable of being honest and though he is aware he cannot bring himself to speak about his thoughts, soothe his soul oh lord! 

He suffers and he knows it! He never knows when his thoughts will come but he knows they are always there – “the body and blood of Christ” he receives but he does not understand.

 ” There are those who think they are righteous because they say yes to God – but they do not do his will….. ”

He knows but he does not really understand, he wants to be left alone with his peculiar thoughts that he feels he can never let anyone know, he grows comfortable with the darkness and the barriers he has built.

He wonders if those he loves could possibly slow down a bit and come to him in his own terms? Holding out hands to touch and comfort – no more slaps and ridicule.

Another winter evening settles down and the cold fingered fog is welcomed and feared at the same time, he surveys the lonely street, dark and quiet, full of shadows that tell lonely stories – something for everyone but nothing to be found.

What demented dreams have given root to those shadows that guide him along to all the places he visits again and again? 

A part of him is dead already and that part testers and stinks and prowls around his parameters that never go quiet, this winter season is perfect for him, cold, dead and glistening in the night, the patterns of frost are never duplicated.

Still he is aware of the parts of him that remember those spring nights when the wind carried life in its gusts, despite the distance the songs of that time call to him.

 “Now it is time for something that may or may not make sense to the causal observer but to him it is his very existence….. Fantasy world time of carnival themes that play and play without sensual lyrics but the story plays to his senses just the same…..”

 He walks with his eyes fixed on the streets before him, his eyesight is strained and he wonders what tomorrow will bring and it becomes like living in a barren forest that is full of trees that keep out light and never lets in the fullness of the day.

The ground is dry, dirt turned to dust for want of rain, sunset reflecting red and sweaty faces, breeze carrying whining and sarcastic voices, lullabies of yesterday have faced out and the night ahs settled in. 

What comes next will determine tomorrow – the line to life of only this dusk will give way to daytime.

He needs to slow down, walk instead of run.

Sleep instead of pacing around with glasses of wine and lit cigarettes, advice and counsel since finding his own way is clearly not working…..

Across the Eastern window the sunrise comes…..but will it reach his eyes?

T.S. Deary 

Starting from Uxbridge

This is an old poem and in honor of the New Year I am posting it here. It is a personal favorite and I am quite proud of it. I love in large part because it reminds me of  New England and autumn and another less complicated time in my life. 
Starting from Uxbridge in the Blackstone Valley scenic home of the Freinds Meeting House and winding country roads that paint a picture of serenity, where deer meet by the side of the road on frozen winter nights and shots from hunter’s guns are echoed on crisp autumn mornings, here the early summer mist collects on leaves of tall trees that are rooted in a millennium of growth.

I once held your hand on long Sunday drives and felt the warm sun on my knees as we drank lemonade and hoped for a future that we both feared and expected at the same time, we looked to discern the faith of churches but turned our gazes away due to angry misunderstandings, I chose to ignore the sacraments that would have brought God to us and for far to long I believed that my image of divinity was the most correct of all and of all the times I could have done better I chose to leave you crying

Now on those sleepless nights I try to remember that we are better than we once were, good enough to approach God ‘s altar and ask him to wrap us into his embrace and never allow us to look back since his victory requires moving to the present, over old steel bridges spanning the water that flows endlessly without interruption to the sea all the time noticing it’s scenery of trees and it’s history written into old stone fences. 

Can anyone be better for you than me? Lifting up hands and hiding your form over the span of my life that continues and continues until the passage of death, remember all the time that we have walked and grown from beyond the confines of New England until now, only from you and back to me with angry haste and expectations that form a tight line between what we expect and what really happens, still I observe and watch and listen to the sounds of the woods, I listen to the beat of the wings of birds.

She sleeps and waits with her eyes to look and see what will happen next, to greet the smells of chimneys that is fueled by felled trees, to hear the sounds of the iron bridge that plays the notes of the wind that blows through this town, from memories of the view of the Hudson from the Tappan Zee to the space of the paved street that was once covered by snow and now sits under the hot summer sun, to the fire pit now cool under the morning dew but whose ashes still hold the syllables to stories coming up from the wind and circling my father’s house like messengers from other decades, to the ponds and river that carry along on endless looping trips that are guided by the hand of God, to the sacraments offered in remembrance of him who has come and will come again, to the scenes of infant baptisms in the  water and new birth of spirit that is echoed in the cries of the baby and in the essence of the creator, to births and deaths and longings of old and young men and women whose advice I need and listen to as I watch them to on with their lives telling stories in their movements and painting pictures with the focus of their eyes.

I constantly set out for new paths and always remember my destinations and keep in mind that there is more than one way to get there, the stone steps that lead to the door, the path well worn in the grass that goes to the deck and the French door off the kitchen, I remember the steps that led to my apartment where the Christmas trees were brought  in and then out leaving their needles on the stairs, the route home that avoids the highways and it us on a curving road that is framed by woods and old houses that look as if they long to be back among a simpler, quieter time, driving around corners and down long dusty roads that are closed in winter and are so much fun to ride down in summer and then walking in the Rockville words to the Protestant Chapel to eat lunch and then home team away the afternoon at Ghost Pond, I tried to find different trails on summer afternoons and have kept their secrets and stories and have never revealed what they have taught me, inner long haired, bearded poets in those woods whose words were written in the grass as the winds swept over it, I have seen women dancing in the moonlight and expressing their feminine side in moves that express creation and strength, I have heard and created songs born of divinity that remain in my heart and wait to be sung from mountain tops.

I have reminisced with my lover under moonlit White Mountain skies that shine even now, I have known her pleasures and made freinds with her smile as we walked hand in hand building a house for our daughter and more under one roof, as I walk on the trees sing restless songs to be found later on in the rings of their growth.

Setting off in the morning after the sun came up a hawk made her way into the edge of the woods, I followed and wished I had her flying view and difference between my world and hers, I wandered down meandering paths stepping over ancient stones and walls built long ago, at noon I went home and along the way I wrote rhymes in my head and promised myself I would finish them later, I walked with purpose continuing in my thoughts, uninterrupted and content with the world around me.

Starting from Uxbridge to here and now noticing everything that goes on around me, I remember all of those words that have passed between us and of all of those words the love that we share is the best, I will never compare things from before to things of now and will always remember how now is so much better, I mingle with the happiest times and live there with deep roots that drink in the fuel of life and then in turn pass it on to my daughters, I believe that there is being never enough time to say everything that needs to be said so I will tell them every chance I get about deep secrets and what I think about where they are going.

In a summer thunderstorm the winds swirl around and around with the leaves stripped from trees as if they carry the news of the day and throw it around to see where it lands, from lonely, one person rooms people watch by candle light in order to wait out the storm and reminisce about other days and the days to come once this day passes by, as the night settles in the clouds that brought the rain now give way to strong moonlight as if the sky is smiling in its calm and new found serenity. 

At home I take in all that I have seen and heard and I fight the urge to read my poems out loud through the screen door to the empty back yard as if someone was there to hear it, I take great pride in wondering about tomorrow and the past at the same time that I retreat into moods of somber, reflective newness that comes and goes and lives through me and passes on to those lives are entwined with mine and those hearts that beat in synchronicity with mine. 

Those hearts beat as if we share sacraments in silent yet beautiful rituals that end in a naked embrace warmed by the early morning sun through th window.

The seasons change as a result of the tilt of the earth and show new lines on my face but I believe that my eyes still look young and my heart yearns for communion with the tremors of things that have become the past.

The sinews of that small town that seems so calm and collcted along lonely roads where landscapes are accented by changing seasons and winds from different directions.

Driving those roads has brought me a serenity that I rarely find to be real, I enjoy the rare moments that I have been able to carry with me and wear them wrapped around me like a blanket that keeps me grounded and moving in one direction, a direction that seems to most to be not that loud but to me is true to the sounds of carefully adjusted beliefs that I content myself as being infinitely familiar and strongly bonded to. 

It is true that I carry burdens unknown but I treat them as intimate companions. 
T.S. Deary