The National Liberty Museum—
little known destination in the heart
of Philadelphia—knocks my socks off.
It makes no attempt to be a textbook—
as it is incomplete—but tells stories
of people who expanded liberty.
Around each bend and up each stairwell lie
words and photos, artifacts and glass work
that illustrate this human quest we share,
and celebrate heroes who stood against
misery and injustice, as well as those who
rescued victims of terrorism and poverty.
Artwork in glass—fragile, transparent and
prismatic—like a 20 foot tall flame—
reminds me freedom itself is fragile.
Interactive exhibits ask guests
“How can we live like heroes?” and “What
freedom is most precious to you today?”
Spell it out or draw it, express it in
oil paint or glass—art and experience
ground us in what we value and how far
we’d go to keep it. When it is absent
or fractured, the invisible character
Liberty becomes tangible again.
|"The warm glow of the Flame of Liberty – crafted for the National Liberty Museum by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly – emerges through the center of this gallery. This 21-foot glass flame represents the power of liberty to spread from a spark and light the way forward. The exhibits surrounding this flame feature heroes of all backgrounds who have kept the fire burning."|
For my prompt Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Museum(s).
Note: This is not the poem I thought I'd write on memory and lifelong collections and even on museums of annihilation. Sigh. I've struggled with this for hours! Usually I write my poem before reading the rest at Poets United, but this day didn't work out that way, and I didn't want to repeat motifs in your poems, dear Poets United. So instead, I treat you to a museum I don't quite understand, but continue to be drawn to. I think the fascination is the yearning in the glass, something I'd never noticed before.
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© 2019 Susan L. Chast