Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman

We stand on the edge of a New Year, full,
it is, of endless possibilities. Somehow, we
climbed the steep hills of the year just past,
none of it easy, our seven hills dotted
with lights steady in the dark of night, hills
alive now with the beauty of a new snow that
stopped traffic everywhere. Our city kept on
moving, speeding into this New Year in ways
never imagined by those who came before us,
who shook the hand of President Teddy Roosevelt
a century ago. He paraded through our city streets,
health care for all first on his list of critical issues.
Those who came before us may have held his hope
as they boarded the Empire Builder in the Union Depot,
never imagining it would be home, as it is, to the
speed of light rail. The sun can be a golden globe,
high in the winter sky. Its light does not blind us
to the many heroes among us, those who work
hardest and are often least rewarded, or those
pummeled by the economy, or our young women
and men in military uniform, fighting and dying in ways
we cannot imagine. We bow to all of them, take time now
to lace our skates, move onto the smooth ice of a city rink,
shoot a puck, or execute a perfect figure eight,
the number that signals prosperity, and begin
the long glide into our future, led by our young mayor.
He abandoned a call to higher office, and is with us
in this New Year, full, it is, of endless possibilities.
Tonight, the sun will set, the lights on the
High Bridge will come alive, burn steady,
arrow straight across the mighty river
that runs through our city, and with hope,
and every good intention, we move
forward into this New Year.

Mayor Chris Coleman and student photographers Kaying Thao, Tanisha Brandt, and Brittany Andrews from Gordon Parks High School outside the launch party of the 2011 Saint Paul Almanac.

Carol Connolly was appointed by Mayor Chris Coleman as Saint Paul’s first poet laureate. She is a longtime media columnist, and curates and hosts the monthly Readings by Writers series, now in its twelfth year, at the historic University Club of Saint Paul. Her book of poems, Payments Due, is in its fifth printing from Midwest Villages and Voices, a press founded by the late great poet Meridel Le Sueur. Connolly’s new book of poems is All This and More (Nodin Press).

Posted in: Podcast, Poetry
Tagged: 2011, Carol Connolly