Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wayne Nalbandian: American Portrait

He came to a country of roses
from a country of thorns
He knew thorns well
you grasped and you bled
this nourished the land
and there was a history
of tears and blight and stone churches
braced against the storms
of dreamers and poets

When he stood in the hall at Ellis Island
at the start of a permanent exile
he pondered the idea of roses.
I knew him only as an imposing old man
sitting in the front room, always reading
He died before I turned six.

Today his name is carved
in the wall at Ellis Island National Park
and his dreams carry in the air

Like a rose.

Wayne Nalbandian is a native of Worcester, where he lives with his wife and three children. He has been active in poetry groups since his student days. He worked with the Merrimack Poets in the 70's and in Poetry Oasis (Worcester) since it began in January, 1998.