newark is home

by E. Alma Flagg

Image: Newark Public Library
Image: Newark Public Library

What is a city and what is a home?
What makes each more than a place?
Skyscrapers stretching to dizzying heights?
Vehicles bent on a race?
Elegant Hepplewhite gracing a room?
Curtains resplendent in lace?

Shall we consider what makes each a fact?
Can we reach that which is real?
There is no building that fulfills our quest,
No car that shows what we feel,
Furniture neither that answers our need,
Fabric nor colors that heal.

Cities are made by people who live
Working and playing in turn,
Those who together in programs unite,
Focused on common concern:
Beauty, good health, and a bountiful life,
Peace and goodwill here to learn.

Homes are created by people who love;
Caring pervades every space;
Helping or listening or just being there
Sharing the family place;
Summoning memories out of the past
Memories time can’t erase.

Newark is my city, and in it my home,
Here I developed through years,
Seeing dear loved ones move out of this life,
Saying farewell through my tears,
Seeing newcomers arrive on the scene,
Banishing weakness and fears.

City, O city, I call you my own–
Blood, sweat, and tears make it true!
Friendships and good times are part of the whole,
With troubles and struggles no few.
People and purposes always in flux
Here, Newark, I’m staying with you.

Trailblazing educator Alma Flagg included these verses in her second book of poetry, Feelings, Lines, Colors (1980).

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