“Shelter” (2023) By Sarah Jane Mulvey

Shelter (2023)

Shelter is the work of many hands.
Community, history, belonging, all from loving hands.

Colors of islands and nations, culture and tradition,
Strands of ochre, indigo, rose, brought together by our weaving hands.

We paint murals on empty walls, filling our streets with color,
Moments of wonder tucked around corners, the work of unwavering hands.

We admire our rusting and rigid beauty,
Image and history captured by cameras in our exploring hands.

We plant rose gardens, heirlooms of an old city.
A vibrant and beautiful legacy to share, from our blossoming hands.

We sculpt likenesses of friends, neighbors, history’s heroes –
They remind us of the power of questioning, giving, uplifting hands.

We give sanctuary, we say yes to the challenge.
We lift, and build, and protect each other with our clasping hands.

Paint upon canvas, layer upon layer, mix and blend
The vivid image of what could be, brushed by our dreaming hands.

Children thrive, and dance in the street.
The music rises, the laughter echoes, we clap with our rejoicing hands.

We build the gateway, the arched door- step through!
Celebrate with us, this thriving life – this artful existence, from our dazzling hands.

This original work was commissioned by DATMA as part of our annual poetry series that launches each exhibition season. Previous works were inspired by Shelter (2022), Wind, Light, and Water. To connect with Sarah Jane Mulvey, you may visit her website here or attend many of her spoken words events. Sarah Jane Mulvey is a poet, writer and non-profit professional. She is a co-founder of Anomaly Poetry, and host of their open mic nights at the Co-Creative Center in Downtown New Bedford. She also performs her poetry with The Collective NB. Sarah is currently serving as the City of New Bedford’s Poet Laureate. Social media: @sarahmulvz and @anomaly.poetry.
Many of you who have been following DATMA since the beginning knew our Co-Founder, Roger Mandle. It was not known to many that he dedicated a portion of his time to creative writing. Allow us to share the link to his memorial website that his family has created which shares some of his poems. https://www.rogermandle.com/poetry