Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All Of My Life

All of my life
Growing up in Brooklyn
I have always
Loved to promenade
Along the Ocean Parkway
Which stretches from
The Atlantic Ocean
To the Grand Army Plaza
This was my Athens
This was my gateway
To literature
To art
To natural beauty
Across the street
From the main branch
Of the Brooklyn Public Library
Was the entrance to
Prospect Park
Further down the street
Along Eastern Parkway
Could be found the
Brooklyn Art Museum
And the
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Here was where
I spent endless hours
Viewing the art exhibits
Strolling the wonders
Of the Botanic Gardens
Feeling safe and protected
From the vicissitudes of
Everyday life in the
Big city
I would go to the library
To study
To do my homework
And research assignments
And I would never fail
To be amazed at the number
Of books
And newspapers from all around
The world
And the number of magazines
And periodicals covering
Every interest and topic
Under the sun
I loved the lighting
And the way the sunlight
Would stream in
Through the floor to ceiling
My proudest possession was my
Library card
My gateway to the knowledge
Of the ages
The Brooklyn Museum of Art
Was my other great love and haunt
I reveled in the exhibits of exotic cultures
Of Eskimos and African tribesmen
Of pre Columbian works of art
And of the artifacts left behind
By primitive cultures from all
Around the world
I loved the great totem poles
The world famous collection
Of Egyptian artifacts and mummies
This was my own personal Shangri-La
I loved the gallery spaces
Almost as much as the exhibits
So majestical
So expansive
I was liberated from the narrow
Confines of city apartment building living
Here was space
And open expanse
Where great thoughts could find expression
In sculptures and paintings
By famous masters
How many future painters and sculptors
Found their inspiration in these halls
It was a place where one’s soul
Could take flight and sing
Where one could shake off the shabbiness
And dreariness
Or everyday mundane concerns
To find safety, peace, inspiration
And, yes, solitude
To be able to stop time
And revel in the moment
Of discovery
To be able to feel
One’s soul able to take flight
Before the inevitable return
To the grayness of the outside world
And to the dreary pursuits
Of everyday life
But I always managed to leave
These sacred and holy places
Feeling enriched
And touched by the nobility
Of the artists, painters, sculptors and writers
Who took the time
To dream
To create
To aspire to things noble and beautiful
Despite the brutes and savages
And the barbarian hordes
Waiting outside the gates
Who would
If they only could
Burn to the ground
All that is noble and good
All that is true and beautiful
Without ever
Knowing or realizing
The value of what it is
That they have destroyed
Until it is too late
I am no longer young
And I have all the fragilities
Of advancing old age
But I would give all that
I have left
To defend these things
That I have loved so well
Since childhood
By whatever means that I can
So long as I can summon up
The strength to do so
If all that is required
To satiate the demon gods
Is the broken body
Of a very tired
Yet ever so grateful
Old man
And though my body
May fall
It falls with a heart
That is full to the brim
With the knowledge
Gathered over many years
Spurred on
By the wanderings
Of a curious
And inquiring soul

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

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