The Ties That Bind. a poem by Mary Alice Williams

Mary Alice Williams

The Ties That Bind

I am of fieldstone walls,
thundering seas. I am of salt air,
of sand squeaking in summer heat, 
of snow squeaking in winter cold.

I am of Tammany Hall and the chicken
it put in my childhood pot. I am
of urban grit, its attendant grind.
I am of unskilled labor, 

of the guy who knows a guy who’ll fix 
your furnace when the landlord 
won’t and while he’s at it   
fix your parking tickets. 

I am of the Irish who need 
not apply, of the ones 
who became Union Organizers, 
Precinct Delegates, President.

I am of candles lit and Latin hymns,
Gregorian Chant and devotion
to the Virgin. I am of Roger Williams
and his heretical stands
on freedom of religion, separation 
of church and state. I am 
of the Narraganset Great Grandmother, 
the odd Swamp Yankee, 

three teenagers who came steerage, 
came solo, with only their wits 
from Kerry, from Cork, 
from Leitrim.

I am of hunger strikes, picket lines,
sit-ins and walkouts.
I am of reels and Rebel songs.
I am of the teeming masses,

the tubercular, the foreclosed upon,
the alcoholic. I am of big tents, 
big government and too-big
for-your-britches dreams.

I am of fieldstone walls,
thundering seas, salvific salt air.
I am of wheels squeaking
for justice. 

Return to Journal

Mary Alice Williams, a native of Providence, RI, lives and writes in Grand Rapids MI. Winner of the Dyer-Ives Poetry Contest judged by Conrad Hilberry, she has been published in Boston College Stylus, Voices, Potato Soup Journal and Shorts Magazine.  She received an Honorary Doctorate from Aquinas College in recognition of her long engagement in community organizing for social justice. Since retiring from the human services arena Williams has focused on honing her voice as a poet.

WordCity Literary Journal is provided free to readers from all around the world, and there is no cost to writers submitting their work. Substantial time and expertise goes into each issue, and if you would like to contribute to those efforts, and the costs associated with maintaining this site, we thank you for your support.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie is now completing her first novel where, for a family with a Seventh-day Adventist father and a Mennonite mother, the End Times are just around the corner. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: