Roosevelt Island
the ruins of the hospital
touched by graffiti

The crumbling hospital building on Roosevelt Island used to house smallpox patients in the 19th century.


8 Responses

  1. rivermary Says:

    Thanks Barry for this — the word “touched” works wonders in this haiku–
    and thanks so much to Tweney for sending these out. They light up my day.

  2. danamariaonica Says:

    …a surprising and suggestive third line – graffiti seen as mildew or as the hand of history or maybe the smallpox of walls…

    Thank you,

    Dana-Maria

  3. francesruthharris Says:

    Your clever presentation sofens the hospitals history and all the
    pain of the people there.

  4. Kathabela Wilson Says:

    The “touched” in this poem is surprising and invokes its opposite, I think, the “untouchable” nature of the disease, and the final dissolving of prohibition… the incongruity and loneliness of the scene as we see that it has been marked by the anonymous artist's hand as if to claim ownership of the past and what is no more to be. We view the ruins of what has ruined and isolated (lives past) and touch it emotionally and artistically in the present. Perhaps even this poem is written on the walls…

  5. genevievepenn Says:

    Without any analysis this poem is great. It has profound depth, and I don't even know where Roosevelt Island is, but I know the end of an era when I hear it.

  6. K. L. Palka Says:

    A great haiku of place. FYI–Roosevelt Island is in the East River of New York, right next to Manhattan, connected now by an aeriel tramway. It's had a couple of other names, the last one being Welfare Island up until the early 1970s when it was changed to Roosevelt.

  7. K. L. Palka Says:

    A great haiku of place. FYI–Roosevelt Island is in the East River of New York, right next to Manhattan, connected now by an aeriel tramway. It's had a couple of other names, the last one being Welfare Island up until the early 1970s when it was changed to Roosevelt.

  8. Friv 10 Says:

    New century!

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