21 August 2019

The National Liberty Museum

Image result for national liberty museum

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. 


National Liberty Museum Heroes from Around the World
"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."

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.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.
© 2019 Susan L. Chast

19 August 2019

Poetic Justice


A poet with a swollen tongue can't speak:
Neither gems nor toads, nor terrain between
reveal the truths simmering in her heart.

Or is her soul totally empty now? 
After hours of streaming entertainment
dully watching season after season.

Life-like, the serials provide suspense:
Plots pick political events from news
where the precipice of war is quite near.

Best scenario trade-offs or else death:
And all so some world leader can save face—
This fodder is the new poetic truth.

The poet sits holding her swollen tongue:
Pressed down she can take in air and say “ahh,”
nothing more.  Her remaining thought's unsung.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.
© 2019 Susan L. Chast

14 August 2019

From Where I Sit

Watching the news in the USA, you’d think everything is equal:

A mass shooting in Texas, a people’s rebellion in Hong Kong,
a car crash on the highway, a hurricane baring down on an island,
glacier melt in  the arctic, children at a loss in immigration camps,
the nuclear explosion in Russia, the suicide of a child molester.

Watching the news, we’re conditioned to forget in an instant.

Apparent equality is part of the psychic numbing we need to:
check our investment options, go out and water the garden,
turn off television and check email, keep doctor’s appointments,
finish reading our mystery novels, play at Words with Friends.

But both watching and living, we know everything is not equal.

And so we contribute money to those able to take positive action,
recycle clothing - cans – paper - glass, eliminate single-use plastic,
write letters and join protests, mingle with our neighbors, love, vote,
pray, watch the news, and create, create, create in every medium.

Nothing is equal, not even the energy we use to make a difference.

For Sumana's promp Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Televised 

Splicing a 20-Minute Television Broadcast

Take out distance and closeness.
Blur the focus on politics and blood.
Speak excitedly of the next item.
Hold people through the commercial.
Finish on time.
Nothing should throw off 
the daily schedule except 
sports, academy awards, and 
maybe an incoming storm.
Make it palatable 
to accompany ice cream, 
shelled peanuts, and apple pie. 
Tomorrow is another day.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.
© 2019 Susan L. Chast

11 August 2019

This very moment

Empty head lets today pour in,
to quench the thirst of weary soul.

Drinking deeply, my brain isn’t
tumbling over itself to get

somewhere.  I'm here!  The air is dense
with furniture and cloth, with dust

stalking the sunbeams.  I think I can’t
breathe, but my lungs insist, and I

keep writing without panic, and
See?  The ink pours forth into words.

Empty head lets today pour in,
spirit wakes and delights in it.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.
© 2019 Susan L. Chast