“I Hear Riverview Singing”

By Lydia

Lydia moved to a city in Ohio a little over a year ago with a group of young people. For many years this neighborhood has been a place for new immigrants to begin establishing their families in the United States. There are also many college students in the community from all over the world, taking advantage of the learning opportunities in this city. Believers have been blessed to be God’s hands and feet to those who are seeking to tell the story of their own culture while learning to adapt to a new one.

Inspired by Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing”

I hear Riverview singing… 

Energetic young voices coloring the thick morning air;

Backpack-clad and waiting for the big yellow bus to take them to books, friendships, and questions

Relieved morning mumbles of leftover fathers and mothers;

Heading to work or feed the baby, or back to sleep; grateful for teachers who teach a language that creates a wall between parent and child – a wall they hope to climb too, someday

Determined steps of worn shoes on the warming sidewalk;

Some of these shoes have traveled halfway around the world to be here; these shoes will walk to writing, engineering, painting, physics, medicine, law, philosophy, language – and hopefully but terrifyingly, never walk home again 

Happy humming while a new grandmother hand-washes her sari;

When she arrived in America she did not expect to see familiar patterns walking up and down her street, smell recognizable spices escaping from neighbors’ windows, and hear words that sounded like home – but she was grateful to absorb the dark sparkling eyes of her only granddaughter and the warmth of her homeland in the same breath

Inquisitive tones waiting for a reply 

Can you play with us? In my doorway

Who is Jesus to you? Over a platter of hummus and olives on the living room floor

How can we help? At the sight of my broken ankle and mangled car

Do you miss your parents too? Through my hair on her shoulder

I don’t know how this song will conclude

But I am honored to sing along