by Rozi Theohari
In their homeland
On their heart
Another – tears.
If you are
Close to a Cambodian
Don’t call them
Live with double vision
Night and day.
Between push/pull feelings
Winners of the “American Dream”
For a Vietnamese
Seems to be
A Buddhist Temple
An Albanian imagines
A high snowy mountain.
Would you mind
Warm words of
1. “LONGFELLOW BRIDGE”
All alone-Monday November second, 2009
Walking on the long Charles River bridge
That joins Boston and Cambridge
Surrounded by skyscrapers and yellowish leafy trees.
Above, in the blue sky floating a few white clouds
As pink cruises slide off onto the teal blue Charles River
The shining water full-of-fall-red-dead-leaves, like tears,
A balmy breeze smoothes the green poster, “Longfellow Bridge”
Named for him-The Nation’s Honored !
In his days the poet attended regularly this bridge
Attracting the attention of the passers-by
Walking and reciting his verses with rhythmic steps:
“Gazing with half-open eyelids,
Full of shadowy dreams and visions,
On the dizzy, swimming landscape,
On the gleaming of the water,
On the splendor of the sunset.”
I rest on the rusty, thick, old, iron hand rail
Feeling the bridge noise shaking from his steps-absorbed
With the clank of railroad trains, cars, trolley, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians,
While “Boston Duck Tours” swim under me.
O Birch tree! Growing by the mystic Charles River!
In your white-skin wrapper-writing a good hand
“The Song of Hiawatha”-unforgotten narrative.
Save it forever…
The poet’s ghostly figure following me near the banister
It murmurs, repeats, and whispers still,
Fragments of verses chased by steps and by wind,
That shall echo forevermore!
O young girl! In sports uniform and ear phones
Stepping along with the music’s melody on the “Longfellow Bridge”
Send the poet a wave…
2. THE NAHANT SUMMERS OF LONGFELLOW
“The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveler hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.”
Perhaps, this “evening of life” thought
Was written of Nahant beaches by Longfellow
In their summer sojourning with his second wife, two boys
And Harvard friends. Boarding in the cottage of the Johnson family.
(He couldn’t buy a “poet’s cottage” thought the rich wife)
The sunny summer days Henry swam and walked on the shore
Watched the surf and the white sails between the blue waters
Breathing in the wild pink roses’ aroma.
Evenings on the veranda, with books and friends, chatting
Reciting poems of “The Seaside and Fireside”
He wrote inspired from the brilliant Nahant sunset.
During his summer in Nahant, Longfellow came down to people,
Meeting fashion-gloved arms-elegant ladies with big fancy hats
And tail-coated gentlemen, adoring him: “Our Nahant Poet!”
Reading his tale “The Golden Legend,” or visiting “Swallow’s Cave.”
If he wrote for the heroic
He could have tea with former President J. Adams,
If he felt despairing and lonely
He might find himself sitting in the moonlight-looking to the sea
Nahant was his “Treasure Island”-shimmering through his poetry…
The poet left Nahant the last Sunday of August 1851,
The last August Sunday, 2004,
I am sitting on Nahant’s south shore, between ocean and forest
At the foundation stones of Johnson’s broken down house
Under the shadow of willows, the poet’s pleasant trees,
Reading “Evangeline”-over the ruins and the grass
Listening to “Druids of eld”-those prophetic Gaelic priests approach me:
Sighing, “Henry Wadsworth wrote its first large expression, here…”
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks.
Bearded with moss and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld………
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighbouring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
The Nahanters joined the Longfellows
On Sunday singing at the Nahant Village Church.
I’m going every Sunday to the same church, rebuilt,
He is seated near me-I see his profile-praying the lines
Of “Christus,” statement of his deep belief, his highest inspiration.
The tide rises, the tide falls,
Printing the poet’s name on the sands…
3. THANK YOU-OUR POET !
I walk along Nahant’s oak-tree streets
Reciting from “Tales of a Wayside Inn”
Astonished by the magic of his art
“I for ever!”-The Saga of King Olaf
Yes, you are for ever-O King of verses-Henry Wadsworth.
O magnificent ballad-singer!-O national bard !
Not just America fit in your heart
But the whole planet.
The worldwide epic heroes’ poet
Familiar with Europe-Longfellow
Even my country-Albania,
Praising our nation’s hero-George,
Who vanquished the Turks with his dazzling sword
Your verses-a hymn’s impetus-incited the Albanian people
Fighting for freedom from Ottoman Empire.
Your “Scanderbeg” inside “Tales of a Wayside Inn” is immortal !
I, an Albanian daughter
Reciting those verses with the rhythm of my spirit
Repeating with the centuries: Scanderbeg…Scanderbeg,
Remembering Longfellow-Our Poet !