The Statue’s Lament.

Every day, we walk past statues as we go about the city. Ever wonder what they are thinking as they watch us? If only we could read their minds …

* * * * *

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 you seem happy, and I wonder, were promoted or did your team win a big game? Sometimes you’re anxious, and my mind asks are you headed to an important meeting or home to an argument left unresolved. We never speak and yet I see your thoughts and care. 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 forever frozen.

And that pose — so haughty and proud — it probably makes you think things about me that aren’t so. If only I could smile, 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 read your thoughts and emotions, while you can never know mine

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 stand 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 my timeless perfection, but it is I who should envy you. For I shall live forever, but alas never once have tasted truly of life.


  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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Updated February 9, 2017.