Community – A Poem

Dear Friends – “Community” is my first toe-dip into the sacred waters of poetry. Please be kind.

 

community

 In bygone days,

Neighborhood folks gathered on porches
Touched the world and each other
Nodding, smiling, calling out.
Sprinklers caught sunlight in rainbows.

In bygone days,
Inner-city folks gathered on stoops
Shared stories of days and dreams
Laughing children, posing teens.
Music seeped through open windows.

Now days,
Plastic bags dance past shuttered houses
Blue light mirrored in faces
Caught in worldwide gossamer
Sojourners in shared illusion
Neighbors of a global village.

globalvillage

Comments

  1. says

    This is a very rich and rewarding “first” step into the sacred waters. I was there with your description and felt a loss at the comparison of the old vs the new. Great work, my friend.

  2. Cindy Forbes says

    Very nice! The last stanza was more hopeful than I expected. But the bygone neighborhoods win my vote.

    • says

      The last stanza drafts were all doom and gloom, wailing for what’s gone, what we’re missing, the intimacy of bygone days, typical grumblings of an old lady sitting on the edge of a new world. But then I got to thinking about all the grandparents who live far removed from their grandchildren being able to watch the little guys take their first steps, hear their first words, and divorced parents who are able to keep in contact through the social media with their children. And then there’s the cornucopia of knowledge and places and faces at our fingertips and how my mind is sharper than it’s ever been because of that easy accessibility — one click leads to one world and then another and then another. Wow! So I figured I’d better wrap my old lady mind around this new world and make friends with it. Besides, in our increasingly mobile society, if we DID have a porch, who would sit on it? There’s that!! Thanks for your comments, Cindy.

  3. Roxanne says

    I loved the images in the last stanza. My parents, members of the Greatest Generation, often said that with the introduction of television, sense of community began to disappear.
    Instead of gathering at the weekly dance, or chatting outside, people and families moved inside and in front of the television screen. An interesting perspective that seems to be repeating itself here.

    Well done, Ann!

    • says

      Hi, Roxanne. Yes, I definitely think television had a tremendous impact but what about air conditioning? What came first, television or air conditioning? One of the reasons for hanging out on a porch or in the yard was to escape the heat, then air conditioning made it better inside than out, temperature-wise anyway. I also think the increased mobility of society was an important factor and the impetus for that mobility can be placed pretty squarely on the shoulders of the corporations who moved their employees around all the time. In time, neighborhoods changed so people no longer knew everyone on their block or sometimes even next door. Guess it’s just all about evolution — for the good, the bad or the ugly. Only time will tell. Thanks for your thoughts, Roxanne.

  4. David says

    Your poetic struggle was quite successful. The movie Avalon by Barry Levinson puts your poem into visual form. Our condo has over 300 units, and I can go years without seeing some of our neighbors, and they are living just down the hall.

    • says

      Thanks, David. All seems kinda’ sad for us humans as herd animals, doesn’t it? But we get the Internet as compensation. Who knows? We won’t have to worry about it — we’ll be blowing cloud bubbles.

  5. says

    Whew!! I like it. It creates nice mind images of the changes. I remember the porch-the smells and sounds-and then AC and TV. They changed many things for the better. And now we have a choice! I like having the best of the bygones and today.

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