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Sweet Candy Tsunami - Boston Molasses Disaster

Updated on June 14, 2015
Devastation in Boston from Molasses (January, 1919)
Devastation in Boston from Molasses (January, 1919) | Source


“Maria and Antonio”
said their Mama Di Stasio,
“do as I say and be very good
and go collect sticks for firewood.”

“Be careful my sweet ones and if you do good
and you collect lots of firewood,
then you can visit the sweet candy tank;
yes my dears I think that you should.”

She smiled and waved them out of the door
and off they skipped even though they were poor.
They were poor and had to find firewood,
to heat their home in a poor Boston hood.

So hand in hand they skipped down the street
on this warm day in nineteen nineteen.
Instead of first getting the firewood
they went to the sweet tank for sugary food.

The sweet tank was steel and 50 feet high
with 2 million gallons of molasses inside.
The rivets that held it together were few;
it wasn’t built well, but nobody knew.

The dark syrup oozed and gobbed as it flowed
and called to the children but it was their foe.
It was free and sweet and the children could.
with a stick and a twirl, a lollipop build.

So these little angels ate all they could
and then they went to get firewood.
As they picked up sticks in a field that was near
a rumbling noise rose up in their ears.

The sweet tank shook and the steel rivets popped
and suddenly the walls blew off.
The children saw the tank let go
but as they ran they were too slow.

The sugary syrup had fermented inside
and carbon dioxide blew the walls aside.
The rivets like bullets and the walls like glass
went everywhere because of the gas.

The molasses was free and like Steve McQueen’s “Blob”
it raced from the tank engulfing a mob.
Engulfing buildings and people alike
it rolled up them all in a really big tide.

It was a wave, a tsunami so sweet
with a height of almost 25 feet.
It grew and it grew, this sticky stuff.
It was so much, too much, enough!

It stuck to and rolled up anything in the way.
Yes, a molasses tsunami hit Boston that day.
Little Antonio was thrown from the wave
but little Maria couldn’t be saved.

Little Maria and 20 more lives
were lost within that horrible tide.
All because the tank’s owners thought
that a properly safe tank was needed not.

But because of Maria we all need to know
that this is why we have building codes.


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