Ode to Sybil Ludington

Sixteen-year-old girl who rode nearly 40 miles down unfamiliar roads in order to rouse sleeping militiamen at the beginning of the American Revolution.

history let it happen / forty billion invisible hands /
the swift bend of a silversmith / wet fingers on a glass rim /
will always hear the whistle / they are looking for /
a non-circling / vulture still sniffs at the air /
say you were a girl just sixteen / say you volunteered /
say you rode ten miles by the time your father called out /
blue-coated & red-faced / there is no bell tower /
no plinking rhythm / to settle in to /
George Washington wrote you / congratulated & praised you /
licked your stamp / clean / because he liked the taste /
now even the Daughters have abandoned /
you / a wild horse / no one chooses to believe in

Taylor Garrison


Listen to Taylor reading ‘Ode to Sybil Ludington’ (0:59)


Taylor Garrison is an undergraduate at Muhlenberg College. She is pursuing a degree in History with an emphasis on Women’s History. Her work has appeared in Catfish Creek and Outrageous Fortune.

© 2020, text and audio