Travels | St. Louis

St. Louis

© 2010, 2016, 2020 Vernon Miles Kerr,


What on Earth can compare to the Arch?

No superlative is adequate.

Nothing prepares you for that first glimpse,

No travelogue, no picture in the Nat. Geo.

Soaring above the downtown skyscrapers,

Its satin-silver face reflects

The sky and clouds,

And the river,

That Old Man River.

Your first thoughts are

Who conceived this;

Who planned this;

Who approved it?

How many minds had to meld

For a city to accomplish this?

Millenia later archaeologists will theorize,

“Something significant happened here.”

Yes, but not so much “Westward Expansion,”

But more:  human cooperation.

I stop at a signal light

And wait while a tidalwave of red-shirted fans

Crosses and flows toward Busch.

“Gotta support those Cards.”

One senses in St. Louis

A spirit of community, of egalitarian concern

For everyone’s pleasure, everyone’s edification:

The famed Zoo has no admission fee

Neither does the Art Musum

Nor the Science Museum

There are even free seats at

Forrest Park’s Summertime Opera.

When the project ends, I head West on 70.

An elastic memory stretches out behind;

It won’t break.

Someday it will yank me back to St. Louis.

2 thoughts on “Travels | St. Louis

  1. That photo is great! Not your standard “Gateway Arch” photo. The poetry is delicious. Delicate, enticing descriptions of and allusions to several things – epic architecture and engineering, pioneers headed west, enthusiastic sports fans, cultural offerings, and that final exquisite metaphor – elastic memory. Beautiful.


    1. Wow! Thanks so much, man. I didn’t realize I had covered so many bases. That photo was taken by my wife from one of the cobblestone streets in Laclede’s Landing, a short distance up the river from the Arch. There’s a good Spaghetti Factory there. We’ve eaten there probably 4 or 5 times, stopping off on trips between Modesto and the East Coast. BTW, that elastic did yank me back to STL in August 2018. I was there until mid-March ’19 working a project for Boeing. The poem was written about several summertime experiences in STL. This time I experienced the winter there. Now my perspective is a little different!! It sure made me appreciate our boring old, Central Valley, mild but foggy winters. Thanks for the encouragement. Will give you a shout next time we come through Fresno. VMK


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