Poetry Monday : World’s Fair by Lou Barrett

My apologies for the lateness of this post. I have had the good fortune to have houseguests the past two weekends and to have taken on a temporary job for the next three weeks; as I’m adjusting to a much busier schedule I’ve fallen a bit behind in posting. 

On October 4th, a poet and English teacher named Lou Barrett passed away at the age of ninety-two. One of Lou’s five children is a dear friend of my parents, and our families grew up together. I was very lucky to know Lou and her husband, Herb, who preceded her in death by several months. When I was seventeen, Lou very kindly allowed me to interview her for a school assignment. I was interested in interviewing her for my assignment because it was (and is) an ambition of mine to become, like her, a published poet. Lou gave generously to the world with her kindness, dedication to social justice, and talent. She will be missed. You can read more about her here.

I have chosen to share her poem “World’s Fair” today. 

World’s Fair

That morning in ’39
we rode silver tubes
into a perfected future
dialed a state-of-the-art telephone
waved at our images
on a screen.

At midday
in Billy Rose’s Aquacade
white arms of mermaids
glided through waters.
to Over the Rainbow
The drums of the khaki youth
in lederhosen
marched past the arched gate.

At night
in a carnival of peace
swaying arm and arm
the children of nations
sang of One World.

There is no way to speak
of what visited that place
no way to write it on your sleeve.
Dancing beneath lights
we flung flags
into a festooned September night
while a periling wind
drove across Flushing Meadows
bearing names heaver than air
across the fair world.

– Lou Barrett