3 Poems by Mary E. Cronin

By Mary E. Cronin

Grand Central Terminal: A Villanelle

“Grand Central Station” © Mike_fleming (https://www.flickr.com/photos/flem007_uk/2927053095/)

“Grand Central Station” © Mike_fleming (https://www.flickr.com/photos/flem007_uk/2927053095/)

Across the vaulted concourse, hearts and feet beat fast
as the trainboard winks a shifting list of destinations
The blur of people, trains, and dreams is beauty unsurpassed

Watch your step! A cavalcade of travellers thunders past
shoeshines, pastries, trinket shops—full of fascinations
Across the vaulted concourse, hearts and feet beat fast

A tour guide leads a band of architect-enthusiasts
past acorns, flags, four-faced clock, a vibrant celebration
The blur of people, trains, and dreams in beauty unsurpassed

In cerulean sky, Pegasus in golden leaf is cast
lit by incandescent chandeliers and constellations
The blur of people, trains, and dreams is beauty unsurpassed

Kisses, wishes, murmurs swirl in this palace grand and vast
Come whisper in the gallery, a secretive flirtation
Across the vaulted concourse, hearts and feet beat fast

Pause for the souls who crafted this temple built to last
Stand upon the marble steps, worn by generations
as across the vaulted concourse, hearts and feet beat fast
The blur of people, trains, and dreams in beauty unsurpassed

Memorial Day

Yes, I was the fireman’s kid
Who burned her feet
At the Engine 90 picnic
On molten coals
Dusted with feathery gray
Spilled from a grill
Just as I tore through
Running, panting,
Lost in a game of riotous tag
Gloriously barefoot
I must have screamed
Levitated
All I can remember is laying face down
As a nurse ministered
To my small blistered feet
My mother at my shoulder
My father’s gentle hand
On my ankle
As we ministered to him
All those years later
Encircled his hospital bed
We each held a hand
An ankle
As if we could keep him
From floating away
From the molten coals of cancer
That tore through him
When we told him he could go
That’s what he did—
He levitated
Gloriously barefoot

Immigrant Nurse, 1930

“3 Girls” © Uppity Rib (https://www.flickr.com/photos/uppityrib/3851668441/)

“3 Girls” © Uppity Rib (https://www.flickr.com/photos/uppityrib/3851668441/)

You really need to get a grip
You giggled along with the girls last night
Traipsed to that snug speakeasy on 12th Street
The gin so flowery and dry
it puckered your mouth, warmed your hollow chest
But now you’re neck deep in trouble
The head nurse took one look at you
And saw right into the recesses of your soul—
The gin
The dapper gentleman from the Bronx
That one cigarette
Your knees wobble
You don’t know how
But she knows
And you’re on double shift tonight.
God help you now.


Cronin.Mary EMary E. Cronin lives on Cape Cod, where she writes in multiple genres, including middle-grade fiction, poetry, and essays. Mary’s poetry has been published in children’s magazines and anthologies. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has been featured in the Cape Cod Times, Shewired.com, and on WCAI-FM, the public radio station of the Cape and Islands. 
Mary is represented by Linda Camacho at Prospect Agency. Visit her website at www.maryecronin.com or on Twitter at @maryecronin.

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3 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Bonnie says:

    Beautiful!
    Thank You Mary

  2. Phyllis Cove says:

    Lovely, Mary. ‘Memorial Day’ made me cry.

  3. Treasa says:

    Love Memorial Day…….holding onto an ankle, beautiful imagery. X

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