A Rising Tide (Winner first place – poetry Houston Writers Guild Press contest – April 28, 2017)

  • I feel the tide rising,
      I see faces all around,
      different shapes
      and shades of hair
      and colors of skin.
  • In a Budapest museum, homage is paid to those who fled
      —inventors, theorists, thinkers
      —artists, musicians, writers
  • Welcomed in another place,
      and what they brought with them:
      television, laser, computer,
      paint, piano, and pen,
  • The HY-DRO-GEN BOMB,
      and the eighth dimension unstrung.
  • They, the celebrated,
      are only the froth,
      the effervescence of the movement of peoples,
  • Not the essence.
  • Yet another wave comes—
      short, dark men,
      digging, hammering, sweating, straining,
      building houses, mending roofs.
  • Imagine their struggles, their strivings,
      their sorrows, their fears,
      their loneliness

    Now that they are here.

  • Small dark women with straight black hair
      push strollers with blond, blue-eyed babies
      and stop in the park to talk in a lyrical tongue,
      staving off loneliness and fear of what will come,

    What will happen tomorrow—here.

  • There is a past—for them and for this place,
      of those welcomed and those turned away
      —some into the maw of their enemies;

    A past of some dragged here in chains;
    A past of all those who came any way they could.

  • I am part of it—
      a great movement of peoples—
      peripatetic tribes,
      seekers of freedom or fortune,
      refugees from evils,
      or responsibilities;
  • Some who prospered, some who did not;
    All lived and died, loved and sorrowed,
    • in this new place.
  • I see the tide rising,
      and I welcome it,
  • I go with it in exultation and praise:
    WE are the tide,
    • we are the tide, rising,
      every one of us.
  • As we followed others,
      so too
      shall others follow us
      to these shores,
  • A rising tide
      until death comes
      and sweeps us aside,
      leaving this ground we walk
      and air we breathe
      to others
      who follow,
  • Each and every one,
      rising, ebbing, flowing,
      like the tide.
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