October 15, 2012

If a Portrait was Painted of Roger Williams...


If a Portrait was Painted of Roger Williams Leaving Salem 
by Jack Carenza

If a portrait was painted of Roger Williams leaving Salem,
Williams would be draped in a heavy gray traveling cloak;
snow to mid boot and still falling, adorning the cornered oak
with the cream-colored petals of the burgeoning pear. The trail

ahead, more accustomed to squirrels than sages,
broadens as it snakes its way from the city to forest, bending
river-like, glazed, a lustrous path from severe to tender.
Williams, huddled yet rigid, would face ahead, the raw

Southwest wind a guide, or tyrant, driving, uncompromising.
His eyes would fail to focus on the trail, trailing off to the coppice
instead, ahead was Rhode Island, ahead was his Providence.
His pallid complexion (due to illness) would be intensified

by the glare of the snow, and the city behind,
But it would not be a sickly pale—he would shine.

* * *

John (Jack) Carenza was born in Norwich, Connecticut in 1990. He is currently a creative writing student at The Florida State University. Jack is employed at the Mystic Seaport, in Mystic, Connecticut, the museum of America and the Sea.

What do you think is the most important part of a historical poem?

Historical fiction is successful when an author is comfortable and well researched about the particular subject, but not confined by fact. Aristotle says it best in his poetics; to be universal, the poet has the advantage over the historian because "one says what has happened, and the other says the kind of thing that would happen". Historical poetry becomes poignant when the poet can channel fact through his or her writer's eye.