Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New York City: Poetry Under Your Feet

Here is poem I found walking across Forty-first Street, between the Lexington Avenue subway and the New York Public Library.

Now, on my heart’s page
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed.
There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating.
Not for the proud man apart,
Dr. Rieux resolved to compile this chronicle.
The universe is made of stories, not atoms.
The rose fades and is renewed again.
When I use a word,
Someone is reading in a deepening room.
Information is light,
Then read from the treasured volume.
At the end of an hour,
There is something about the vibrating empty rooms.
Books are the treasured wealth.
I do not know which to prefer.
I want everybody to be smart.
People work much in order to secure the future
In the reading room of the New York Public Library.
All good books are alike.
There are words like Freedom Sweet and wonderful
(Silence) Vladimir: What do they say?

A poem doesn’t do everything for you.
When you are old and grey and full of sleep
Where there is much desire to learn,
A word is dead When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live.
Nature and art, being two different things
They ask me to remember.
I love the old melodious lays.
If you do not tell the truth
I do not know which is more discouraging,
…the reading of good books is alike a conversation
For all books are divisible.
The bird that would soar,
Where the press is free.
hsirebbig ton si siht!
Writing your name can lead to writing sentences.
Those of you, lost and yearning,
Everything is only for a day.
Truth Exists; Only falsehood has to be invented.
All things are words.
…a great book should leave you with many experiences.
Because when I read,
The knowledge of different literatures frees.

And here is how I came upon it”  There are bronze plaques imbedded in the sidewalk on those two blocks.  The first one tells you why:

Walking at a brisk New Yorker’s pace, one has time—going along—to read only the first few words of each plaque.  Here is what they look like.  Note: I am sure, somewhere on the internet, one can see them in their pristine state, but I choose to show them they way look now, after having been walked on, pelted with rain and caked with ice for more than fifteen years.

I love them. and I love the long and short of what they say.

Annamaria Alfieri 

1 comment:

  1. These were wonderful! I loved " The knowledge of different literatures frees." I wish you could send this whole message to the current House and Senate Heads... Thelma Straw