Hour 6–The Hesperus Wrecked

It was a tragedy.

She was the captain’s daughter. She was found in the dim surf tied to the mast of the wreckage. Her bosom was white and her long hair swirling. I was 12 and a boy and the bosom thing is mostly what I remember and she was dead. Her father had tried to save her and thus killed her.

And I was dying up in front of the class. Miss Hepburn as our English teacher had made us each memorize two thousand lines of poetry. We had to recite on command. Procrastinator, I, I faltered badly there in the surf with the captain’s daughter. I couldn’t rescue her or myself. I couldn’t remember the words.

As if I had a choice I chose the greater humiliation. I broke down and sobbed there at the blackboard. Miss Hepburn told me to take my seat. I did so sloppily. Relieved it was over, I cried quietly at my desk. My colleagues were embarrassed. They backed away. Fear of contagion. The whole school would hear.

It was a tragedy. It was my introduction to poetry.



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