Listen My Children…

I first wrote this last year but today is a good time to repost it.

Listen my children and you shall hear of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

Twas the 18th of April, ‘75, hardly a man is now alive who remembers that famous day and year

As he said to his friend, “If the British march by land or sea from the town tonight, hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch of the North Church tower as a signal light.

One if by land, and two if by sea, and I on the opposite sure shall be ready to ride and to spread the alarm through every Middlesex village and farm for the country folk to be up and to arm” (Longfellow)

Miss Meehan, my 5th Grade teacher at Woodland Street School in Worcester, MA wrote this on the chalkboard and had the students memorize and recite it. I’ve never forgotten it. Of course, there’s lots more to the poem.

About 1981, on April 18th, I was driving along the New York State Thruway, Rte 90, at an excessive speed. Why so fast? Because I was reciting this poem out loud, caught up in a bit of patriotism. At least that was my story to the state trooper who commented, “I bet Paul wasn’t going this fast”, as he handed me the speeding citation.

I will never forget the poem, the officer, the patriotic deed by Paul and friends, nor Miss Meehan.


Happy Patriots Day to all Bay Staters today, as well as Boston Marathoners.

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Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, “it brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.”

38 thoughts on “Listen My Children…”

  1. My dad used to read this poem to me when I was little. I learned lots of history and vocabulary from that poem. I’ll be that was the first (and only) time that trooper heard the Paul Revere excuse for speeding!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. 😂😂🥸I was hoping you’d see that part of my personality. But I was young and laughing at Life. Now? Well, things haven’t changed much except I’m older😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Steve,
    A very nice reminder. Have visited Concord many times over the years to pay homage to HDT and other townsfolk.
    Seems that Concord renews its heritage year after year- much to our benefit.
    Jim Murdock


    1. I bet you have, Jim. As close to Concord that I lived, I never visited WP until a side trip when I was making sales calls in the area about 15 years ago. Thanks for contributing, Jim.


    1. You’re welcome, Bette. Every April 18 reminds me of Miss Meehan and PRR. Too bad the Red Sox lost. They always play an early game so people can enjoy the Marathon.


  3. I also memorized this poem in my 5th grade elementary school year. U.S. history is part of the curriculum, and the American Revolution is one of the most fascinating parts. Here’s to all of the Miss Meehans of the world.


    1. Yes, indeed, hail to them all. By the way, , I like US historical fiction books and with that, let me recommend the collection of books on that subject by well known author, Newt Gingrich. These are not political books but exciting stories of the RevWar centered around a fictional family.

      Thanks for your comment, Pete.


  4. What a wonderful post, Steve. I hope that elementary kids today learn and recite the poem. This is quite a day of remembrance in Massachusetts. Today Martin’s big brother ran the Boston Marathon. Martin – a kid – was killed at the Boston Marathon in 2013 by a terrorist bombing. Today there were no dry eyes, all swelled hearts. God Bless America, and history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennie. I hope beyond hope that school kids are learning about patriotism, too. Our country needs a strong support system because there is no better place than the USA. 2013 seems like yesterday and that tragedy is still fresh in my mind. Glad to see people taking some time to remember. By the way, where did you finish in the Marathon?😉

      God bless America, Jennie. Thank you for commenting and have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hear, hear! You said it very well, Steve. Where did I finish in the Boston Marathon?? Hahahaha!!! The best story is that the brother of Martin, the little boy who was killed by the terrorists at the Boston Marathon some years ago, ran the race! Talk about cheering. Not a dry eye anywhere.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. No, crowds of over 30,000 people are not fun, not to mention the parking and walking and standing. That’s for the young people. 🙂


    1. Robbie, some poems just have a way of staying in your heart and mind and you can recall them at will. This one has many more stanzas and is a patriotic theme. Thanks for commenting. And have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved that poem. I especially loved getting to visit Concord, Lexington and Boston for the first time when I was 11 and got to see the original sites. Now I live in New England, but at the time I was coming from Oregon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m from Worcester but living in western NY now for years. New England is special but Oregon is beautiful, too. Our daughter recently moved from Portland (downtown, unfortunately) to Judy across the border in Wash. PRR is a great poem. Glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. When the officer spoke, all I could do was shrug my shoulders and sign, I knew it was going to cost me, the speeding, not my comment😂. Thanks for commenting.


  6. I too, memorized this and still recite it-my birthday, is the 18th of April, so I do not forget it! Wow! our forefathers were a brave and intelligent lot! best wishes, and waiting for your statue! Michele


    1. I was wondering if the word ‘car’ was as old as Paul. Here’s what my research showed:

      Car” is actually a very old word, first appearing in English around 1300. The root of “car” is the Latin “carrus,” meaning a two-wheeled wagon, but the Latin word itself has Celtic roots, and “car” arrived in English by a roundabout route through Old French and Anglo-Norman. In English, “car” was first used to mean a horse-drawn cart or wagon

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the reminder on history and the laughs. I don’t know that I learned anything in fifth grade. Every time I hear that poem, I will think of you and the police officer and smile a little. It’s very interesting. Your daughter leaving Portland is not a bad move. My daughter still lives in a suburb around it as her job is in downtown too. Not one wants to go there anymore. Sad. I moved away last year and am now back in the white mountains of AZ. Not nearly as pretty, high desert and a desert of thinking people as well. Loved reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. It only takes one Like to encourage me to do more so you did your part.

      Yes, too bad about Portland. I’m glad our daughter got out of there. My brother spent the bulk of his adult years there and I’m sure is rolling over in his grave , seeing what’s happening there. And too many other places, as well.

      I hope you’re doing well in your new digs. All my best.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Steve,
    I’m a fan of Concord and its history, as you know. In an earlier time – not as early as you relate – Thoreau, Emerson and others were very aware of the history of their town. From that awareness they made Concord a thoughtful center for many throughout the world.
    Thanks for the reminders.
    Jim Murdock

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your great comment, Jim. I have an excellent book about the Battle of Bunker Hill and in one part the writer talks more about Paul Revere’s venture. It’s an easy read and your welcome to borrow it anytime. Titled, ‘The Adversaries’.


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