Author Archives: Marty Luster

There Was A Child Went Forth

mother and son

The schooner near by sleepily dropping down the tide, the little
boat slack-tow’d astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color’d clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint away
solitary by itself, the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon’s edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh
and shore mud,
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who
now goes, and will always go forth every day.

From There Was A Child Went Forth, Walt Whitman

Joe Harris at Maritime Gloucester


At Maritime Gloucester, deep water sailor Joe Harris last night regaled his audience  with the tale of his quest to set a new class record for an unassisted solo circumnavigation of the world.

Joe cast off from Newport RI on his 40 foot monohull Gryphon Solo 2 on November 15, 2015. Sailing southward and easterly, his plan was to cross the South Atlantic to the waters off Cape Town, South Africa and then continue east through the Indian Ocean into the Pacific, running south of Australia and New Zealand, round Cape Horn and then take a long slog North along  east coasts of the Americas back to Newport.

Unfortunately, Joe was forced into Cape Town to repair his hydro-generator, without which he would have lost the use of all of the electronic navigation and communication equipment on board. A second incident resulted in serious hull damage necessitating another emergency stop, this time in Uruguay.

Although Joe did not set the new record, his voyage of 154 days (not counting the repair stops) was a thrilling adventure filled with moments of abject terror as well as those of serene contentment. When asked if he would do it again, Joe said, ” I would like to, but don’t think I will.”

See Joe’s photo gallery of the voyage here.


Another From Antietam

sunken road

The Sunken Road

From U.S. Park Service:
This farm lane served as a breastwork for the Con­federate center. For about three hours 2,200 Confederates, later reinforced by ad­ditional troops, held off the attacks of a combined Union force numbering nearly 10,000. Finally, just after noon, this thin gray line collapsed and fell back several hundred yards to the Piper Farm. The Union attackers had suffered too many casualties to pursue their advantage. Seeing the dead in the road an observer wrote, “They were lying in rows like the ties of a rail­road, in heaps like cordwood mingled with the splintered and shattered fence rails. Words are inadequate to portray the scene.”
A Simple Farm Lane Changed Forever
During the early hours of the battle, Col. John Brown Gordon promised Robert E. Lee: “These men are going to stay here, General, till the sun goes down or victory is won.” The Confederate troops that Gordon commanded were part of a well protected line of over 2,200 men hunkered down behind piled-up fence rails in this well worn sunken road.

When the Federal attacks shifted south at approximately 9:30 a.m., the Confederates held their fire until the last possible second. Then, as Gordon remembered, “My rifles flamed and roared in the Federals’ faces like a blinding blaze of lightning…the entire line, with few exceptions, went down in the consuming blast.”

For more than three hours thousands of men blazed away at each other at point-blank range. Eventually the overwhelming Union numbers and confusion in the Confederate ranks forced the defenders back. When the fighting subsided, 5,500 soldiers lay dead or wounded on the field and in the road. That number included Col. Gordon, who had been hit five different times. After the deadly struggle for this sunken road, soldiers who fought here described it as the “road of death” and a “ghastly flooring.” From that day forward, the road has been known as Bloody Lane.

“Heaps Upon Heaps Were There in Death’s Embrace”


Happy Birthday to Len Burgess

As Len celebrates his 80th, let’s revisit one of his ice crystal masterpieces. Len is truly a fine artist, craftsman, musician and scholar. Above all, he is a warm and gentle soul and, happily, a good friend.

©Len Burgess 2015

                                     At Dawn

 At dawn we walk through a forest of frozen firs,

 their branches dipping to snag our hats and drip

ice down our backs and send chills to our toes,

with snow underfoot and shadowy woods ahead.


But, the young sun’s glow gives a sweet caress

and promises us shelter as we trudge through

this strange, mysterious  and glorious world

of shadow and light, of biting cold and loving


© Marty Luster 2015




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