Wednesday, September 14, 2011

He rummaged in his desk and pulled out a tattered newspaper, much folded and creased.
“My mother sent this to me with the letters, a newspaper from home. A Mr. Key wrote a poem about the battle, Doctor, titled ‘The Defence of Fort McHenry’. Look here–‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’. That’s America, Charley! I won’t ask you to drink to an American victory, but you won’t mind if I have a tot?”
David poured himself some rum while humming a tune. Charley listened, her head cocked to the side.
"I know that tune–I heard it in the inn where I waited to board the Lady Jane. It is ‘To Anacreon in Heaven’, is it not? I recall the people who attempted to navigate its melody often failed miserably.”
“Maybe it’s a song best attempted while drinking for the full effect. But I’m told it is now popular in Baltimore with lyrics based on Mr. Key’s poem–‘And the rockets’ red glare…’ .”
Charley snickered as his voice strained through the notes.
“That tune will never catch on, Captain.”

--SEA CHANGE

Charley was wrong.  The tune and Mr. Keys' poem caught on, and today is the anniversary of the writing of The Star Spangled Banner.

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