Our Poet: Gary Margolis, Ph.D., is emeritus director of mental health services and associate professor of English at Middlebury College. He was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his book “Fire in the Orchard.” His life of other honors and accomplishments is too long to give here. Suffice it to say that we are greatly honored to have this distinguished poet with us.
The Poem: This is a lively poem of homecoming and anxiety. If you’ve landed at Logan Airport, you will recognize the terrain and the history here. Whether you share the trepidation is up to you. I can sympathize. Anyone knows that, like the bumblebee, these huge airplanes cannot fly, and are held up only by the pilots’ faith. Let them be brave.
In this extraordinary work, we are reminded of Boston’s complex history, its lively present, its part in the Great Rebellion, its ascendency in the sports world. Who will ever forget Thomas Paine, John Hancock, Bobby Orr, Larry Bird, Carl Yazstremski?
This poet has a different style from that of our usual contributors. I challenge you to find one complete sentence in this poem. It is a list of allusions. We know enough of our historical myths to make the connections. The poet gives us a handy list; our imagination does the rest.
There is one troubling omission, however. In cataloging the great patriots, the great New England Patriots were left out. I presume to add them to the list.
Rough Flight Into Boston
The wind could have brought us down
into the whites of their eyes, the harbor’s
froth, onto the backs of swans and the swan
boats. Carried us against the tide of traffic
onto the golden bulb of the statehouse,
into that rich hill that blinks like a beacon.
The wind could have swerved us over
the river like paper hovering a sewer,
over the crews of students pulling their shells
through the blue tide of exams, the ratty Charles.
The wind could have thrown us like a line
drive against a green wall, bounced us on a court
in the Garden, in the North End, the Back Bay.
Could have piled us against the teeth
of Kennedy, the lamp of Revere, the jump
shot of Bird, and the hat trick of Orr. Shaken us
into the ink of Hancock, the speech of Paine,
the drawl of Dorchester. Taken us between
the breasts of Gardner, her courtyard flowers,
her Rape of Europa. Could have sunk
us in a barrel of dropped r’s and r’s added
to any idea. Why did Salem hate their
women? Would we take Harvard’s new
drug or the prayer of Mary Baker Eddy?
How could the wind know to push its own
button, dropping us to the lobby of Logan’s
runway, leaving our hearts in our throats up here?