Skeleton of a Nation

(Painting: Tom McGregor/

(Painting: Tom McGregor/

jagged rocks dusted red

bleed rose water from ancient springs

who was baptized here

saved and sustained by sacrificial land

skyscrapers and cars

the skeleton of a nation comes from this belly

but the immigrant forge

and children formed in heat and cold

are forgotten

the heritage of a nation

is traced upon rails, highway and shipping lanes

as a vein leads to the heart

back to this place


Carter Norman is a high school teacher and has been a resident of the Saint Paul area for more than twenty years. He and his wife have five energetic boys. Carter writes about Minnesota’s Iron Range, where he grew up. He believes that nature has a song that can resonate through each of us in a unique, profound, and indelible way.

Painter Tom McGregor has had a studio in Lowertown since 1990. His love for this historic area of Saint Paul and the West Side neighborhood, where he lives with his wife, artist Jerri Jo Brandt, is evident in many of his plein air paintings. An active community member, his involvement with the Saint Paul Art Crawl dates back nearly twenty years.

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