Fred Babbin (1925 / Chicago)
57th and Kenwood
The neighborhood described in this poem is in the University of Chicago area, as it existed over 60 years ago. Most of it no longer exists, due to one of the first Urban Renewal programs in the United States. The 'Bomb' refers to the atom bomb, of which the University had a large part in the planning. I worked there for a short time. I wanted a picture of that corner for my poem 'Lost', and Ms. Schlesinger kindly sent it to me, so I wrote this poem.
Dear, Dear, Ms. Schlesinger
You are the messenger
That brought back my memories to me.
Old Lola Goff, The Tropical Hut,
John Snowden, Shag Donohue
And Bob Marshall too.
(whose nee name I just cannot think of) ,
Who strode into Steinways
with everyone staring, and thinking, “Who is is she? ”
The Woodworth tree, with it’s nails of poison, that shortened it’s life,
Replaced by another, not real at all.
And Ms. Lawless, forerunner of Gordon’s,
Who isn’t there either,
She had a hi-fi, with classical records,
where lunch was Paradise contained.
And John Snowden was Chef, so charming and willing to please.
With the Bomb in the background, with no one aware,
there were Socialists, Communists,
Artists and writers; also philosophers,
And girls on the make.
(Beware, You Boy Virgin, with your naivete,
And so easily crushed by these Lorelei maids.)
All gone, all gone,
A new party is there
Who replaced the new party
That replaced the new party
that was previously there.
There are only memories, ancient as Egypt,
With only photographs that I can share
Comments about this poem (57th and Kenwood by Fred Babbin )
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