One If By – Elizabeth R. Smith ’92

Elizabeth R. Smith, class of 1992


In Boston today I saw

The same pilgrims’ feet treading cow paths                                                                           On  their way to the sea
Shining on a spring day
Shod in shouts of well-wishers
Destination new world
In Boston today I saw

The same reports of smoke coming from the square
Heads turning in curiosity, confusion, horror
A boy dropping his ice cream cone
A girl falling among white blossoms
A woman raising blue eyes to the same sky
In Boston today I saw

The same calloused hands that harvested land and
Heaved ropes on whaling boats
Pulling strangers from the fire
Pressing an open wound
Pinching an artery closed

In Boston today I saw

The same physician’s eye traversing a body
Assessing mortality, calculating distance
Her runner’s apron cradling a curly head
While battle cries form around her

In Boston today I saw

The same shelter-in-place
As the night the Regulars were out
Brownstone doors flung wide to welcome
The pounding feet of runners instead of riders
Citizens watchful at their windows
With solemn nods to servants defending civility

In Boston today I saw

The same measure of New England resolve
In mile and minute
Men and women converging
Razing the flags
Scattering the pickets
Running toward the smoke

Going the extra mile
For those who could not finish
In Boston today I saw

Citizens recognizable to their ancestors
Mouths set in grief
Eyes watchful
Heads held high

Red Sox caps replacing tricorn hats

Pavement painted in for town green

Orders to fire
Achingly unchanged
The same lantern swings in a northern church nearby
One if by

And we answered
with Light