Abba Tor & Eero Saarinen

                                i.m. Abba Tor (1923-2017)

If this roof were to fall on my head now
I would die a happy man,
said Eero Saarinen
to Abba Tor (Kennedy Airport, 1962).

The engineer won’t stand on cardboard –
number, weight & measure.
Concrete is dumb.  (For sure.)
It doesn’t know for whom it’s being poured.

Let’s use this requirement to let some light in.
Skylight ribbons through
the Jet Age double-U.
They builded better than they knew.  Someone

whispers like a humming bird beneath
French limestone gravity –
gray shadow cavity,
the leaden heart of black corroded wreath.

The terminal’s long-empty now
(hotel-to-be).  But the sound
of twine cats cradling profound
equilibrium is as a Finnish prow

of voices laboring in harmony –
it lifts a catenary prong
where the cartwheel song
creaks like rust in clay, or an eye

from the bottomland (circling palm)...
Green eye of Liberté
from Providential bay –
Columbia’s rose wheel, her feathered helm.


(NY Times obituary for Abba Tor here.)

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