Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 19 (rock/wreath/remembering)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

Note: I had to bring some library books back to the bin (libraries are shuttered) and went the long way, driving a secondary route, if only to break up the day. My eye caught something at the top of the hill near the old Northampton State Hospital. A large wreath, with green flowers, set against a memorial stone that I already knew the history of, since it represents a terrible moment in my city’s history when prejudice and bias took the lives of two innocent men. Echoes of these injustices still ring out today, if slightly muted by the Pandemic. Someone remembered. Someone always remembers. Sorry for the downer verse. – Kevin

Day Nineteen

Someone left a wreath
on the stone on the hill
by the hospital where
they tried, and killed,

two men, immigrants,
two hundred years ago,
for the crime of being Irish,
and people by the hundreds
came out to cheer;

A rock memorial decorated
with green flowers and dedicated
as reminder of some things
never changing, even still;

The Other is always us,
always in us, always
wearing wreaths on the rock
on the hill near the hospital

More about this historical event:

Peace (in noticing),

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  1. Kevin, “someone always remembers…” is a phrase I will think about today. Social injustice has been apparent in history throughout the years. You would think the world would be united in eradicating fear and travesties, especially now. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I pictured this poem as a greyscaled background while the story you told played in my mind. Then contrasted against that green appearance. Like an old photo made new with color. Maybe the color is hope that the others will begin to cover the grey memories as we make new.
    My best to you.

  3. “The Other is always us”…whether we fear the Other, or feel like the Other. I was not expecting Irish to be the determining factor, but not surprised, either, as every group has been marginalized at some point. Do we could carry the memory of how that feels, how that hurts, in our genes from one generation to the next? Does it help us avoid doing the same to Others, or do we transfer the anger and hurt and lash out without reflection on source? A lot to think about in this post.

    • One of my students shared some journal writing – they are worried that if they get this virus, they will be ostracized and seen as someone to shun — this is how this poem plays out today … I was thinking more of Trump and his demonization of border families … but I guess the current scene is also reverberating …

  4. Your poem leaves me thinking about humanity or human nature, intolerance, respect, recognition and care. I notice a contrast, too, although there were and are still injustices, there is also care and recognition in the “wreath” and the “rock memorial.”.

  5. I look forward to your poem ever day. It makes me think. It makes me feel. I makes me think about my feelings. Today it made me think about others, the ones who left the wreath.

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