Mary Dyer and Colonel Shaw on Boston Common

Mary Dyer and Colonel Shaw on Boston Common

The Holy Spirit’s breath whispering between them,
martyred Mary Dyer speaks to the Colonel’s men,
urging them to ascend to Jesus once again,
chanting songs of the beginning and the end

in a sculptural call and response today.
Mary Dyer sits atop carved white Vermont
granite. The Colonel’s massive horse prances
across Beacon Street, dancing,

sending a flock of mourning doves rising,
white tail feathers fluttering and diving
around Mary Dyer’s immortal hands,
counterpoint to wings of mottled tan.

The bronzed symphony of Colonel Shaw
beats his 54th Black Regiment answer.
A bas-relief Winged Victory hovers over guns
as men march out sharply at a quick-step run.

Whittier’s low-relief angel of God model
carries an olive branch into battle
above the etched faces of African-American men
who chant Omnia Relinquit, Servare Republicam,

who left everything behind to serve the Republic.
Meanwhile, high on her pedestal, idyllic,
Mary Dyer sits in silent repose,
speaking stillness in a meditative pose.

Mourning doves flutter about her frozen hair
cooing a lament into the disappearing air
as I remember what she said near her ending
`I am already in paradise,’ never otherwise pretending.

The martial music plays, bronzed alive
only the invisible songs survive
to fuse two sculptures in a final swoon
singing today’s melodies of hope and doom.