Charleston

          Hello, faithful readers! Today I have something a little different for you. I read recently that April is national poetry month, and being someone who has a long history of writing poems, I have decided to post some of my more recent verse for you. Those of you who don’t care about poetry can rest assured that next time we will return to the world of the Bear Team. For the rest of you, this is a poem that I wrote about my favorite Southeastern city. I hope you enjoy it!

*****************************

A full moon rises over the Ashley River
bathing Oyster Point in pale white light
The Holy City slumbers in the night

 Huguenots framed the boundaries of this place
The sweat of African captives built its wealth
Their spirit lives on to this day

On the peninsula,
where the the Cooper River joins with the Ashley
to form the Atlantic Ocean
the legacy of the deep South is imprinted
It is in the plantation homes
and the distinctive dialect
It lies in the Indigo fields
and walks the quiet streets

The spires of grand cathedrals reach for the heavens
Backlit by flickering street lamps
Spanish beard hangs from ancient trees
fluttering in a lazy breeze

Moving through the humid night
Following Meeting Street into the heart of the city
Passing dark storefronts
and trolleys parked at the curb
Amid the forlorn chirp of hidden crickets
and the whine of hungry mosquitoes
Pausing at the edge of Marion Square

This is an old city
built in a different time
Despite the irresistible march of progress
the old customs remain
Aedes mores juraque curat

Moving Southeast
just as the rivers have flowed for generations
 undiscovered
By faded brick buildings
and finite, grassy parks
Past gated driveways
and trickling fountains
Along Cabbage Row
in the long shadow of the great Cathedral
of St. John the Baptist
and further still

In the Lowcountry
the rhythms of the past run
just beneath the surface
From market ruins
to the Gullah people of the sea islands
memories of a disgraceful period remain

Slipping through Stoll’s Alley
unseen and unknown
Walking down Bay Street
in the pale light of dawn
The distinctive hues of Rainbow Row
gradually become visible
Following the Cooper River
down, forever down

In the shade of palmetto trees
or amid the throngs of Market Street
This port city holds many truths
and as many mysteries

Arriving at last
where land gives way to infinity
The waters of the Battery glimmering in the early light
On James Island, and Sullivan’s
In the tides of Folly Beach
On the far reaches of the Cainhoy Peninsula
Within the haunted walls of Fort Sumter
Further still
On the distant Isle of Palms
and into the great sea
to Spoleto Umbria,
her Italian sister
and further still

In the city
the rhythms of the past run
just below the surface
and the memories lie buried in the sand
If you listen
really listen
you just may hear her call

 

 

 

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One thought on “Charleston

  1. Pingback: Foaming | Halfway There

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