Marguerite Maria Rivas, Staten Island’s first Poet Laureate

Staten Island night rent force that mount island made of red clay island made of industrial dawn island made of serpentine rock island made of male sorrow island made of female mourning in autumn a walk in autumn a civilian in autumn man you pray in autumn at the time of the sorrowful mother may you behold a sky electric blue in autumn may you not fear the sky or the plains where the germs nor the smoke island made of finest blue islands made of bravest red island made of secretaries islands made of bond traders island made of poet's island made of sculptors and autumn a you walk at sunset lay you off the shore and sunset when you ride waves of grief may they not pull you out too far from shore may the salt not sting your face I like debate of oyster shells island made of tall marsh grass island made of verdant hills island made of churches island made of pipers songs in autumn may you walk at midnight may you stroll beneath the sky dinner now may you not mind the helicopters startled may you not see the army fatigues may you walk in ignorance of these island made of red air island made of Seven Hills may your feet lead you to the path of Moses Mountain may you see the Harvest Moon rise above your sorrow may you believe you will see it rise again above your memory may your memories be dear may they not cut you or your wife or your husband or your child may they settle upon you like harbour mist island made of sweet gum trees island made of weeping willow island made of maple trees island made of oak may your feet have the courage to move may your hands have a courage to work may your fart have the courage to laugh may your eyes have a courage to believe Island of the dappled shade Island of the uniformed schoolgirls island of the exuberance boys Island of the ferryboat Island of the bridge Island of the fort Island of the empty helmet may your tears solve the earth the good Island earth may your tears water the earth the good Island earth may spring shoots thrust from the hardened earth by virtue of your tears may your tears produce wild violets may you see the face of God in them in goodness shall you walk with courage shall you walk by virtues side shall you walk in beauty it is finished in light dazzling and perpetual it is finished and love it is finished [Applause]

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