The late Phil Riley of Lowell was an English teacher and cross-country and track coach at Stoneham High School for 22 years. His wife, Johanna C. Bohan Riley, recently spoke to me about his deep affection for Lowell and literature, particularly poetry. He passed away about a year ago. I asked her if we might publish one of his poems on this blog. Here’s his poem “A Part of History”—PM
A Part of History
Born of industry
On the mighty Merrimack,
My city stands above the power of nature
Channeling her thunderous falls;
Then for cotton,
Now for the boats guiding tourists
Through the web of canals.
Come and see her
By boat or by trolley.
Hear the music playing.
Walk down the cobblestoned streets
Where the mill girls toiled
To escape the rural life.
Now—the Spinners play ball
On our field of dreams;
And the puck glides across
The ice in the arena
Named for our Senator remembered.
Sometimes, I feel like I am part
Of history—one of the nameless
Crowd that has walked the streets
—Phil Riley (c) 1998