|Future Poet Laureate Maci Nichols|
Maci has been homeschooled her entire school career by her parents, Matt and Kayla Nichols. Maci works part-time at Kristi's Kitchen and volunteers at her church's food pantry. She is active in her church's youth group and is great friends with the adult women in her mother's Life group. Maci is also a pianist, taking lessons regularly to become a classical pianist.
In addition to writing and playing the piano, Maci enjoys outdoor adventures (camping, backpacking, spending time on her grandparents’ farms, etc..) and drawing. Maci is the oldest of 3 siblings and her siblings love their older sister!
"Maci's writing terrifies me at times. I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t understand it at all. I love it; I can’t comprehend it. We’ve always been a family who reads aloud, and only well-written books at that. We’ve read poetry to Maci since she was an infant. We all enjoy it immensely! We don’t teach formal writing in our homeschool until 9th grade. Yes, you read that right. In fact, she began her first online writing class today. Up until this point, all she has done is read the best “real” books we can find on each subject and write a short, daily essay retelling the passage. No formula. No thesaurus. No five paragraphs of undeniable stupidity.
The method is seemingly working okay. My other two kids write well for their age. Maci, though, is different. She doesn’t only write her assigned essay; she writes in her free time. From the age of 9, Maci's been composing poems that rival "The Ride of Sybil Lubington." Maci has bits of paper and notebooks all around her room where she catalogs every inspiring idea that crosses her mind and every beautiful new word or turn of phrase that she falls in love with. She refuses to write poetry from assignments. It must be inspired. I’ve asked her before how in the world she does this. Her response is basically that she doesn’t “do” it. She waits for it to come to her, and when it does, she writes it down – as if this is the most natural, normal thing in the world.
You will be hearing from Maci Nicols in the years to come!
Sybil Ludington, the subject of this poem by Maci Nicols, is the most heroic person of the Revolutionary War, a woman whom most Americans are unfamiliar with.
Sybil was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War. On April 26, 1777, the 16-year-old daughter of a colonel in the Colonial Militia, Henry Ludington, made an all-night horseback ride to alert militia forces in the neighboring towns of what is today's Putnam County, New York of the burning of Danbury, Connecticut by British forces.
Sybil Ludington rode her horse 40 miles through the night in Putnam County, New York, to warn approximately 400 militiamen under her father's command that British troops were planning to raid Danbury, where the Continental Army had a supply depot. Ludington was said to have warned people asleep in their homes by banging on their shutters with a stick and yelling "The British are burning
She used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors. She returned home soaked with rain and exhausted, but most of the 400 soldiers were ready to march. The American militia arrived too late to save Danbury, but they were able to drive General William Tryon and his men to Long Island Sound. Ludington was congratulated for her heroism by friends and neighbors and also by General George WashingtonIn 1935, New York State erected a number of historic markers along Ludington's route. A commemorative statue sculpted by Anna Hyatt Huntington was erected near Carmel, New York, in 1961. Smaller versions of the statue were erected on the grounds of the Daughters of the American Revolution headquarters in Washington, D.C., on the grounds of the public library in Danbury, Connecticut, and in the Elliot and Rosemary Offner museum at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. In 1975, Ludington was honored with a postage stamp in the "Contributors to the Cause" United States Bicentennial series.
The Sybil Ludington 50k Run has been held in Carmel, New York each April since 1979, a 50-kilometer (31 miles) foot race. The course of the race approximates her historic ride and finishes near her statue on the shore of Lake Gleneida.
The Ride of Sybil Ludington
By Maci Nichols
On a cold, dark night in seventy-seven
When a faint light glowed ‘round the frame of heaven,
When the breath of the wind waged war on the rain
And the battle betwixt them was fought in vain,
Then out of the darkness there came a sound
Like a distant, rhythmic drumming.
A sound which echoed the stormy night
And taunted the winds and the sky;
The sound of a rider who rode in spite
For Liberty willing to die.
With courage Ludington handled the reins
Despite the storm, the fear, the pain.
All through the night Sybil Ludington rode.
Her cry of defiance continually flowed.
Her eyes with valor and bravery glowed.
Ludington’s warning echoed the night;
The sound of a rider who rode in spite.
Her horse’s hooves like thunder rung,
Like the thrum of a distant beating drum.
Her name no less than Paul Revere’s;
Her task no less than vital.
Yet fame, it faded with the years
As did the reins and bridle.
In the hour of peril the people shall hear
The hurrying hoofbeats of Paul Revere.
But listen closely in hour of need
For those hoofbeats are backed by another steed.
Not the soul of one, but two, go riding,
Daring the wind and the rain.
Two souls in tandem riding, riding –
Riding in Liberty’s name!
|Sybil Ludington's Ride|