The Welcome Table
           The Welcome Table
          first thing to meet the eye and
          greet the guests of the garden.

          Set to say 'Welcome,'
          and as if to say,
          'This first we MUST agree upon:

          to sit, to share, to talk.

                                      For to not agree
                                     would turn this table over
                                     becomes a shield
                                     the table turned against:
                                     hatred, intolerance,
                                     waste, and greed.

          The Welcome Table
a place of gathering of all people
          to share food, poetry, music, laughter, ideas, lessons
a place apart and in connection to what goes on inside our school
          to remind us of what we learn outside of the classroom
a sanctuary here on the campus of our busy public high school
          a safe place for difference and sameness

The garden will remind us of the earth outside and in us –

          The Welcome Table
James Baldwin's story, for one, could be told here
since he went here- amidst the throng - across
the lengths of these halls, the same stairs, and library –

          Jimmy must have been in Mr. Meeropol's class
          at least heard Abel banging on a piano
          somewhere hammering away at librettos
          or the crystal moment that bore Strange Fruit
          on some piano in the building somewhere
          like summertime –

From the depths of Harlem he rode a breadth of New York City,
to the Castle on the Parkway, Norwood of the Bronx
And The Welcome Table, open and large, was in his life, was his life,
his last play, last easing of tension into brotherhood and love.

By Ray Pultinas
JAMES BALDWIN OUTDOOR LEARNING CENTER
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