Poems with Mary Lee: Building the Skyline

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-09409, Potsdam, Frühstückspause der Gerüstbauer
Mary Lee posted an interesting image of some scaffolders taking a break from work. She’s been kindly posting images from the Wikimedia Commons all month, inspiring poetry. Here’s what I wrote:

My grandfather worked this place,
with brothers and cousins
and fellow blue-collar heroes,
riveting steel into the skyline
as dreamed by those down below …

I listen to Springsteen –
with chords and lyrics
and stories of working-class men –
driving this steel on wheels
to spend hours in those towers …

At lunch, I study the skyline,
watch the clouds,
imagine the dangerous balancing act
my grandfather’s crew performed
each day, every day,
as they built this city,
from the bottom up.

And the podcast:

Audio recording software >>
Peace (in the skyline),



One Comment
  1. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? That this is a ‘real’ photo & they worked like that. I like your response, Kevin, to put this into a memory/first person, “from the bottom up”.

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