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The Statue’s Lament.

We pass statues every day as we walk about the city. Ever wonder what they are thinking about as they watch us? If only we could read their minds …

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Statue of seated woman.
Manhattan, by Daniel Chester French.1

You come to see me nearly every day, carrying your packages and usually in a hurry. You always stop to look, and smile. You don’t know I see you, but I do.

Sometimes I see you happy. Maybe you were promoted or your team won a big game. Sometimes you are anxious and I wonder and care, are you headed to an important meeting or home to an argument left unresolved. We never speak and yet I see your thoughts. But you can never see mine for they are locked eternally in stone.

One day you touched me, ever so politely. I felt the warmth of your hand, but moved not at all. You probably thought me cold and aloof, but I cannot move for my pose is frozen in time.

And that pose, so haughty and proud, it probably makes you think things of me that aren’t so. If only I could change it, even for an instant. But alas that cannot be.

Parade down Fifth Avenue.
Allies Day Parade, 1917.2

It makes no sense I suppose, that you reveal so much of yourself while I show nothing at all for you are fully covered while I stand naked and exposed. But I can see your thoughts and emotions you while you can never know mine

You are not my first. Generations have passed before me, some in great formations with flags and bands, others like you on their way to work, running an errand or out for a stroll. All the while I sit on my pedestal, aloof and alone.

Day by day the world goes before me. Friends grow tired with age while I endure forever in the flower of youth. You may envy me my timeless perfection, but it is I who should envy you. For I shall live forever, but alas shall never once have tasted truly of life.

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  1. Adapted from photo by Douglas Yeo posted on web page concerning French’s allegorical statues of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
  2. Childe Hassam, Avenue of the Allies, 5th Avenue (1917). Image from Wikipedia.

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