Book of Poetry
Poets made selections from exhibits at the Arnot Art Museum to inspire poems for the annual reading of the Sage Daughters of the Muses last Thursday evening.
The Museum produces a handsome chapbook of the poems and the work the poets chose.
It was a particularly touching evening, because they were honoring the memory of a treasured friend, and a leader of the group, Clare Reidy.
Here is an example of one of the poems and the image chosen from my collection.
Ellis Island Ladies
They were her shoes
but she'd never been to Ellis Island...
of that I can be sure.
They were her feet
but she never had felt that stone below them,
that cold, alone stone,
that had cracked the heal of marbled Venus
and left her alone, the eons rushing by
like the Atlantic on an immigrants' afternoon.
Her eyes had never seen,
her hands never touched,
her heart never allowed
so cold a day
as waiting in line
to taste a morsel of freedom.
You can't see Ellis in just one day, they had said to her,
it's just too big. It's just too heavy.
It's just filled with too much history
of pain and separation and sorrow.
You'll have to come back;
you'll have to visit us again,
so that you can feel Liberty's guiding Lamp
as she drew the "tempest-tossed"
toward these "gleaming shores."
They were her shoes and her feet
and she never visited Ellis Island again.
Why would she want to?