Arts & Entertainment

Words of ‘Paterson Poet’ Reflect City’s Storied History, Inspire Hope in Brighter Future

Valverde’s poems come from “inspiration,” she told TAPinto Paterson, if she doesn’t “feel something,” she continued, she “can’t write with any real artistry and authenticity.” Credits: Elizabeth Valverde

PATERSON, NJ- At the recent Creative Paterson Call to Collaboration Elizabeth Valverde led a discussion on the need for Paterson to “think big,” a part of that, she and her fellow attendees agreed, includes creating opportunities for residents to more fully understand the city’s vast history. That history prominent within the lines of her poem “Silk Vesper.”

Saying that “Paterson makes the best muse,” Valverde, a self-described “lyric poet,” who said she specializes in “love poetry,” told TAPinto Paterson that the words she delivered at the inauguration of Mayor Andre Sayegh came to her in a night following his victory, a result of being “overcome with joy and hope for the city.”

We are honored that the “Paterson poet,” a designation Valverde said is one she wears with pride, shared her words with us, so that we may share them with our readers:

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Under the weight of her blue

stalactites, the frozen falls nap,

motionless—a reprieve from the mad 

rush of people and of water,

a history preserved in picnics,

waiting for a ray. A mourning

dove perches, not one to migrate

terribly far, as if there were anyplace

as majestic anyway. Beside the bird

a mill, mortar crumbled, still beautiful

and standing. Aren’t we always

waiting for Spring, even in Spring? Braced 

for the foxgloves to arch

toward the coming of a new sun?

Silk tycoons and principals, welterweights

and sonneteers, each shivering on the banks 

of a shared river. My god, it’s been so cold

for so long, I don’t even know where 

to kneel tonight. Still, I’m praying

when the thaw purrs, we’ll be—

all of us—dancing to a song of a city

who has waited for dawn

for too long a spell. Small palm 

to small palm, grant me the luster

of the milkiest pearl, a constellation

of lovely stars above our daughters’


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