Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Berkeley Historical

Berkeley History Center

In which the Flaneur takes a sentimental and  sardonic look 
at the narrative known as history 

There's plenty of tradition on display
At the Public library

 A sardonic view of historical vernacular art,
Tinker, tailor,
Quilter, collage-maker
Skilled hands love a good pair of sissors

 The vaulted ceiling of the Berkeley Post Office

Antiquated fixtures certainly recall
A notion of history

 And as we know,
History happens every day,
Does that guy crossing the street
Seem a bit self-dramatising
Wearing a camel-blanket tent as a coat?

 Today I thought I would reconnoiter
A long-lost primary source,
The Veterans Building across from the park

Names cast in iron a century ago,
Souls replanted in trenches in Belgium and France,
As fast and bulbous as tulips


Blessing and healing
to all those who innocently served
Power and wealth,
Nationalism and pride


 Scads of data, referencing a local past,
After you're gone your memory will live on
In your high school yearbook

A civic past dimly remembered,
Less substantial than it seemed at the time
and now long gone

 Large intriguing tile on back wall
How long since I was here last?
Decades archived, dust of time

Staircase enshrouded in gloom,
The second floor almost entirely abandoned
Holes in the walls, decline unarrested
Alongside the Historical Society
The ground floor is home to a men's shelter

A piper plays outside the Newman center
After a funeral Mass,
He led them in a procession up-street,
Entering history

30 April-5 May 2015

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