Love poem to New York

New York…

Your name invoked images, awe, presumptions
of ghetto, gangster, glamour, glitz.
Yet many will be surprised to know
I found in you much goodness and grace
just as ingrained
as the grit and grime.

I arrived in your muggy embrace on a stifling night in May,
and as I gradually acquainted myself with your form,
you grieved me.
Now, two years later,
I am grieved once more.
But the grief is different this time, my unexpected love.

“New York grows on you like a fungus”
says Anna.
I do believe she’s right.
Can a fungus grow in the heart?
Your roots burrow deep in mine.

You have taught me much about life —
I walk past faces hard as flint
inside them live eyes that have long forgotten how forgiveness feels
I walk over petrified gum ground into the pavement
I walk around the smelly legless homeless man
(do I ignore him this time, or do I smile?)
It’s physical and spiritual, this grit and grime,
But it makes grace more glorious.

Beauty lives in you too, City of Contrasts,
Your skyline’s famous fingerprint
Your proud bridges
Your art — you collect and inspire —
Your playground sprinklers tickling children
Your sprawling parks
Your wide harbor with the proud green Lady
Your beaches
Your Christmas lights
Your people.

African, American, Asian,
Hasid, Hipster, Hispanic (too many more to count)
Is there a place, religion or philosophy not represented here?
We all live side by side
on top of each other.
I’m pleasantly surprised by the peace
as I sit in the evening cool
on my Brooklyn stoop steps.

I am Lot’s wife,
One last look at this Sodom
that has been my home.
But you are not completely Sodom
because in you I have found many
who are righteous
who call on Him who washes us clean
like the summer rains your streets.

I know some of them
and I love them fiercely.
They are your roots burrowing in my heart.
They are what made you my home.

11 thoughts on “Love poem to New York

  1. Awesome Franci! You are an incredible poet! Doesn’t New York just become part of your heart so quickly? I know part of mine will always be left there! See you guys soon!!!!

  2. Ditto to Aunt Elizabeth’s comments. As I said b/4, The Sweet & Godly Hoyt family will leave a gaping hole in our church, hearts and yes…city. Good-bye dear friends.

  3. HI Franci,
    Very beautiful! Also, very true to our American experience in Chicago. And to Julie M, may it be some consolation that the hole left in your congregation is the means by which the hole in ours is once again filled. From Ben and Franci’s pastor back here in NZ – God be with you!

  4. Wow, amazing to be able to put such feelings and thoughts into words. Thank you, Franci, for sharing in this way. We are thankful for the two years you’ve had there in NYC and look forward to your family’s involvement in New Zealand once again. With love, Mum Hoyt

  5. Fabulous, like you. I went past St. James Pl this morning, and I missed you already. I love you guys so much, and it was an honor and privilege sharing time with you! Safe travels, my loves! May God’s best be yours and your best be God’s until I see you again!

  6. “They are what made you my home” – I so agree; it’s the people who really make the place home, I’ve always said – so I believe I could live almost anywhere. Not to negate any of the other wonderful things you loved about New York!

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