puritan newark

by Katherine Baker

        Puritan Newark,
The Martha of cities,
Careful and provident
Sits at her spindles.

        Down the world’s pathways
Hobo and Tsar,
Shod by her industry,
Borne in her carriages,
Jeweled or clothed by her,
Pass without gratitude.

        Still her shrewd sons,
Like their stern forebears
Who came from Connecticut,
Make their religion
The gospel of usefulness,
Still with their hymnals
Wadding their guns.

        Jews, in her factories,
Pollacks and Finns and Greeks,
Sweat out new destinies:
Wring from strange chemicals
Lives for their children,
Wealth for the world.

        Build for their children
Her schools and her aqueducts,
Build themselves citizens
Of no mean city;
Forge in her foundries
The soul of America.

        So when swift trains
Are rolling through Newark,
Men at the windows see,
Far down a busy street,
Flash in perspective
The Goddess of Liberty.

Image: 925-1000.com
Image: Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks and Makers’ Marks

The writings of Katherine Baker were featured in several leading literary magazines of her day. “Puritan Newark” took one of the prizes in the city’s poetry contest in 1916.

In 1917 Baker volunteered as a war nurse; she would attain the rank of corporal and receive the Croix de Guerre for her heroic service in Europe, work that led to a physical collapse from which she never recovered. She died in 1919.

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