Ode to Brooklyn’s Shores

An Ode to Brooklyn’s Shores
by Mary C. Reed

Oh, to wander here at last,
On these fair hallowed shores,
Ever changing, history bringing,
Songs of progress, nevermore.

Boisterous songs in memories sung,
Of anvil, shovel, and drill,
Great ships rose amidst the woes,
Of labor, now, clamor gone.

Ye partisans of progress in days gone by,
Left desecration and decay,
Rise up now, reclaim, restore that shore,
The past lies buried in your wake.

Yet unseen, an enemy lurks and stalks,
Under bush and tree and stone,
Waters flowing, ever choking,
Hoping for breath, damage undone.

Past successes have charted your course,
Their whispers fill your ears,
The relics of this present age,
Remain throughout the years.

Rise up and fight, take back the land,
Your people sorrowed, but now they dream,
Your shores await!  It’s not too late!
Your shores await! It’s not too late!

Sound the melodies, mirth and laughter ,
Children playing, grasses swaying,
Lovely blooming, ground swelling,
Birds telling, shores singing .

Dream and plan and build again.
The message’s clear,
Your shore’s still here!
It’s not too late,
Your shore’s still here!

Author’s note: The inspiration for this poem came from a trip up the East River and down Newtown Creek. I was confronted by the enemies that the people of Brooklyn are currently faced with since heavy industries have vacated the land and the waterfront. The shores have been ravaged by the effects of toxic chemicals, making the land and shoreline an unhealthy place for man or beast. The people are also in a battle to retain the freedom to use this land for the benefit of all the citizens and to determine for future generations what kind of city this will be. It will take vision, planning, leadership, and adequate funding to redeem a dying landscape and turn it into a vibrant, living, and wholesome environment again.

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