“Salem Depot” – A Poem
This epic poem by Quinton Oliver Jones is about Salem past and present in the mind of a young man. It takes the reader to five locations:
allegro grazioso — Salem Depot
The downtown railroad station; the engines come roaring in bellowing smoke and steam; they connect the city to the world; awesome and full of meaning.
andante — the East India Marine Hall
The historic room of the Peabody Essex Museum is filled with glass cases of sailing ship models. Here a boy meets childhood memories and dreams of traveling the oceans on a ship named Eunice.
scherzo — Salem Willows
The oceanside amusement park; the adolescent meets a girl; the voice of his identity is changing.
con moto moderate — Witch Street
A dark section of town with haunted houses; ghosts abide; here is the Malebolge — Dante’s eighth circle of hell.
allegro non troppo, andante maestoso, presto — Salem Tunnel
On leaving the depot, the steam trains travels a short distance and enters a tunnel going under the center of the city. The poet gives us a painful soul-searching look at the darker side of Salem’s history. A grim old woman sits on the curbing reviewing a tragic life. She is not easy on her city.
The poem is a challenge as Quinton shifts his viewpoint, his metaphor, his allusions and his voice. The poet chooses interesting words in unexpected places.