Occasional Poetry, Part 1


On Her Fifty-Somethingth Birthday, Greater Boston Rejoices

Lo, the Amazing C. Musselman has been

On the Earth these last five decades and we,

Waving our hands and dancing with our feet,

Are grateful. So we show our gratitude

With colored banners, cakes and ale, broad cheers,

And songs (probably in Finnish) and small bonfires.

We light up the bay. The tourists likely think

It must be some local holy day but we

Know better. Having had the mission furniture

In our brains rearranged by her speeches

Over the preparations for every dinner,

We know that holy is not the word for it.

The word is knowledge, or wisdom perhaps,

The domain of Athena. What they both bring

The world is yearning for knowledge,

That sudden spark that lights the conflagration

That annihilates all we thought we knew

To make room for what we never thought

Possible. This is their gift to us, ever being

Offered, ever received. And so the fireworks

(Fireflowers, the Japanese call them) erupt

Across the skies of the world this night

In their honor, in the honor of her chariot

Pulled by cats, that she won from Freya

When Apollo decreed that he liked Cecelia’s

Pottery better, in honor of her baked

Mac & Cheese that Thor decreed could make

A warrior weep, in honor, in short, of her birth.

And though those who do not know the woman

Might think this paean overwrought because

They have never seen the shine of her mind or

Eaten the food she offers with such love, I, who

Know her, tell you it is not. As with many we know

And underestimate for their size or quietness,

Though she is but tiny, she is fierce.