Welcome to New England

6 May

As the current chair of  North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc. (NAHSL), the local regional chapter of the Medical Library Association, I was invited to give a welcome to the attendees of One Health, the “federated international meeting incorporating the 2013 Annual Meeting and Exhibition of the Medical Library Association (MLA ’13), the 11th International Congress on Medical Librarianship (ICML), the 7th International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists (ICAHIS), and the 6th International Clinical Librarian Conference (ICLC).” Our meeting began Saturday evening, here in Boston, and I offered the following welcome yesterday morning.

I want to thank the many, many people who have stopped me in the rooms and halls of the Hynes Convention Center to tell me how much that they enjoyed my words. I had a great time writing the poem and am happy to share it, per your request, here. Enjoy!

Listen my colleagues and you may hear
The distant call of Paul Revere
On this early morn, the first Sunday in May
His voice and mine are here to say
We bid you good welcome, good times, and good cheer.

I say to you friends, “If you have traveled
By land or sea, from towns near or away,
Hang your hats by the doorpost, take heed the gavel
And receive its clamor as a signal to stay,
One if by land, and two if by sea;
This is the rule to follow if ye
Commence to go forth and take in the charm
Of every Middlesex village and farm,
And the sites of New England within a yardarm.”

We bid you grand welcome, with no muffled roar
Enjoy good sessions ‘long the Charles River shore,
And as the moon comes over the bay,
Be sure to get out, see the ICA,
Beacon Hill and the famous Common,
And the place where they tossed the tea to the bottom
Of the Harbor deep, and the fight was on.
History abounds in this fair city
Take it all in, to not be a pity.

Meanwhile, your peers from west on the Pike
Worcester and Springfield, and places alike
We too break the silence around these parts.
And muster our greetings, as we embark;
On sessions and speakers and meetings aplenty,
And nary an excuse for your stomach be empty.
For local arrangers, they await your call,
All set to give guidance on how to reach Faneuil Hall.

And do, if you can, climb the steps of Fenway Park,
With its old creaky chairs, it’s an historic landmark.
You’ll have a fun time, no matter the cost,
It’s still early May, the season’s not lost.
But don’t startle the pigeons that make their nests,
On the hanging rafters, above all the guests.
The roof gives you cover, the roof gives you shade,
And don’t fear the loud masses, it’s a Sox-loving brigade.
Catch a glimpse of the monster, green and tall,
Homers fly highest over that wall,
Then pause to watch, as the ball sails over the crowd
To bounce on the street aptly named Landsdowne.

Yes here you can visit churchyards a plenty,
Where famous figures, now lie deep and still,
Adams and Hancock and old Preacher Mather,
Who up in Salem caused such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

(Oops… wrong poem. Sorry.)

Their watchful eyes linger, even today
Keeping us true to their Puritan way,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”

But growing impatient, I feel the swell
Of my fellow NAHSL members, wishing I tell
The truth, my friends; that our region it spans
From shoreline to mountains, cross lots of farmland.
Boston’s but one place, and yes, it is louder,
Yet in Connecticut, you’ll find folks prouder
Mustering cheers for that team from the Bronx
Battle cries rising ‘tween Yankees and Sox.

From Stamford drive north, the coast you can trace,
Past Norwalk and Bridgeport, to New Haven and Yale,
Who’s hallways and dorms, a few presidents did grace.
You can stop off in Hartford and take in the site
Of the very room, very desk where Mark Twain, he did write.
See the tall ships line Old Mystic’s harbor,
It’s the same town from that movie that starred Julia Roberts.

And though it be small, the smallest of all,
Rhode Island can claim its own famous wall;
A cliff walk you wander and ogle without guilt,
Upon mansions like those that the Vanders-bilt.
Little Rhodie has beaches and islands, great jazz and folk fests,
That draw the likes of Dylan and Joni, Duke, Dave and the best.
For years they have gathered, the crowds on the lawn,
To take in the music from dusk til dawn.

But then there are those who live north of he-ah,
Where there’s moose in the mountains and lobstahs off the pie-ah,
Way up in Maine, or “down east” as we say,
They’ve got a history of women showing the way.
It started with Margaret Chase Smith back in ‘40.
Women in Congress from Maine proved no shorty.
From Olympia to Susan, the United States Senate
Knows the people of Maine through some very strong women.
And continuing right along in that vein, some 30 years almost it’s been,
With the whole world watching, we all got to see,
A small gal from Freeport break every myth,
Winning marathon gold, Joannie showed girls don’t quit.

Vermont and New Hampshire, too often it seems,
Get lumped in together, like they share the same themes.
But they’re really quite different, both equally proud
Of the unique qualities they’ve each been endowed.
Vermont has Green Mountains, good cheese and ice cream
And a strong little faction always wanting to secede.
They’ve got a good streak of tough independence,
Of “do it yourself” and “don’t be a nuisance.”
Quaint little towns and quaint covered bridges,
And people who can take it when the weather gets frigid.

New Hampshire, however, has mountains quite high,
With trails above tree lines, and peaks in the sky,
Wild rivers and bike paths, and even some beaches,
It’s got a penchant for drawing young folks in their fleeces.
It’s a place to play in the great outdoors,
It’s the first place I landed here, despite there being no Gore’s.
New Hampshire has snow like you can’t believe,
And in spring when it melts, the mud is obscene.
But despite its small size and no roads running East-West,
It’s a part of New England some claim is the best.

Now you know the rest. In the books you have read
How this country began when the British all fled.
How the Patriots showed them, no question at all
That they’d fight for their homeland, they’d answer the call.
And this spirit lives on in our region today,
New England’s quite proud of the ideals we convey.
We’re proud to be leaders in hi-tech and health,
We’re proud to have schools that embody such wealth.
We’re proud of old libraries. We’re proud of old art.
We’re proud of our nature, and being known for kind hearts.
We’re proud of FOUR champions – Sox, Pats, Celts and Bs,
We’re proud you can marry whomever you please.

And though recently shaken on a day we hold dear,
We’re most proud of those who stood up to fear.
For in that odd week, filled with hatred and terror,
The true spirit of Boston became clear as ever.
And all of New England showed all of the world,
How we still stand together, when darkness unfurls.

So throughout this week, as you visit us here,
I hope you’ll absorb every bit of our cheer.
Each bit of our history, each bit of our charm,
Each bit of our character, drawn from village and farm.
On behalf of the members of NAHSL, I say,
Welcome to Boston. Enjoy your stay!
And should you be sad when this meeting is over,
Come back and see us again in October!
Our annual conference will be on the Cape,
And I promise you now, that I will not rhyme another word.

Creative Commons License
Welcome to New England by Sally Gore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://librarianhats.net/2013/05/06/welcome/ .

2 Responses to “Welcome to New England”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Welcome to New England | MLA 2013 Conference Blog - May 6, 2013

    […] share it. Thank you SO much! I’m honored. I’ve posted it on my own blog, “A Librarian by Any Other Name“. […]

  2. MLA ’13 From the Field: Day 1, Part 1 | ConnectMidwest - May 9, 2013

    […] Sunday morning officially starts with the Welcome plenary session.  The president and members of the National Planning Committee recognize the hard work it took to put the conference together and thank the volunteers.  This year, the official welcome message was delivered by Sally Gore in her role as current chair of  North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc. (NAHSL), the local chapter of MLA.  She delivered her welcome as a highly entertaining (and educational!) poem, and was kind enough to post the full version for posterity on her blog! […]

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