The Sunday Poem: Elaine Schwartz... Pilgrimage

Just reading this powerful piece is itself a "Pilgrimage"...a search for meaning, for significance. This poem has eyes. It sees beyond headlines. It caresses the human face of Truth. It will follow you home.

Albuquerque poet Elaine G. Schwartz lives with her husband, Daniel, and Purr’l the Postmodern Pussy Cat. Her work, best described as a tapestry of place and political imagination, has appeared in numerous publications including the Harwood Anthology, Santa Fe Literary Review, The Rag and An Anthology of Monterey Bay Poets.


Maria Elena Hernandez Perez, eyes
the color of chocolate, mutters
maldito sol, accursed sun, as she
crawls across blistering desert sand,
knees swollen, blue jeans stained red,
empty water jug marking her tracks.
A smile breaks across her sunburned
face, her daughters, Eugenia y Luisa,
dance beneath winter sun, words
trill from their moist pink lips --
San Serverino de la buena buena vida,
hands move, hacen asi, asi el carpintero,
asi asi asi, asi me gusta a mi...

Maria Elena finds sanctuary beneath
the canopy of an old palo verde, leans
against its smooth, lime-green trunk,
gives thanks, le da las gracias, as
darkness swallows the western sky.
Maria Elena Hernandez Perez, mother,
daughter, wife, numero noventa y nueve,
found, twenty miles southeast of Tucson,
eyes wide open, pink morning sun warming
the silver rosary in her hands.

Submissions to The Sunday Poem are welcome. Send one or two poems with a short bio, any links, and a picture to

Views: 19

Comment by cathyray on March 29, 2009 at 9:52am
Another great Sunday morning begun with amazing poetry.
Comment by BARBARA BYERS on March 29, 2009 at 12:42pm
asi es.
Elaine, I heard you read this at the Art Museum on International Women's Day. Excellent.
Thank you.
Comment by Margaret Randall on March 30, 2009 at 7:01am
Elaine, this poem is so powerful. I remember when you read it on International Women's Day at the Museum. It was stunning there and continues to be so here. Thanks for your work which is strong witness as well as beautiful poetry.
Comment by Merimee Moffitt on April 3, 2009 at 12:57am
You continue to amaze and inspire. Thank you for this poem. Keep this one in the public eye!! WE all must learn to be better neighbors
Comment by cc on April 5, 2009 at 8:09am
Thank you for this important tribute to an individual, Elaine. Yes to keep it in the here and now - a reality going on here and now - suffering allowed to happen all the time.


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