The Summer of the Sharks

This is the summer I did not swim in the ocean; there
are too many seals now, wards of the state,
and the sharks have come to feed on them, and man, 

as in John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark. The beasts
could appear in Boston Harbor before long.  So much for paddle
boarding, the fashion of last year–glad I didn’t buy the gear.

On Beacon Hill, a troubled black woman defaced
Saint-Gaudens’ bas relief of the 54th Massachusetts
Voluntary Infantry, because, she said, it was not correct;

Robert Gould Shaw, the white Colonel who led the black
soldiers south, did not ride a horse out of town, according to
her.  On line, no one remembered the poem by Robert Lowell,

just a movie.  Copley and Lowell came of the same blood,
or so they think, one Henry Spencer, Esq. of Badby,
Northamptonshire, England, their common forebear.

I suggested to a fellow with some clout a while back that
the famous sculpture should be moved from Beacon Street
to the Common, where people could view it without cars rushing behind

their backs; no, he said, it should remain a fishbone in the
throat of the Irish solons under the Golden Dome on Beacon Hill,
a rebuke for all the wrongs they’d done to descendants of the 54th.

I gather Lowell didn’t think much of the red-faced Hibernians
who displaced the right sort of people–his–on the City Council.
The cars with their fins in his poem are gone, but the sharks return.