Skip to content

Remembrances of Mexico

March 5, 2014


Preface to the Poem


            If I had not declared my retirement from air travel a couple of years ago, this Polar-Vortexed winter of 2013-2014 would have been an excellent time to fly to a much warmer climate.  Only once in my 63 years have I taken a mid-winter break to a land of sunshine and no snow.  Shortly after Christmas of 1973, my sister and I went to Mexico for an almost two-week tour which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Rather than choosing the beaches of Cancun or Acapulco, I selected a tour based in Mexico City, where we visited the National Palace, the Museum of Anthropology, Chapultepec Park, and places mentioned in the following poem.  Under the bluest of skies, I was thrilled to climb the narrow stairs of the Pyramid of the Moon and walk on the cobblestoned streets of Taxco.  On this trip, I took a whole carousel of slides with my not-so-fancy camera.  (During this period of my visual history, I could often see a scene better when I later looked at the photograph or slide which I had taken.)  Besides going to the Santa Prisca Church in Taxco, we, in Cuernavaca, went to the first church that had a folk mass.  Additionally, my sister and I toured the Basilica of Guadalupe where we were awestruck by the people who were making a journey on their knees to the altar of the Basilica.  At a lighter moment, we took a boat ride at the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco where a lady in a kayak sold beautiful orchids.  At the parks we visited, Mary and I were pleased to notice family members’ walking arm-in-arm.  Yes, the people were so warm, friendly, and welcoming.  However, one family with whom I did not exchange one word has stuck in my mind for decades.  Thus, on January 27, 2012, for a poetry class which I was taking through correspondence with the Hadley School for the Blind (Winnetka, Illinois), I wrote the following poem which is based on a true experience.



Masterpiece of a Family


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



In the city of Mexico, before the earthquake,


before my cousins lived there,


before the city multiplied into millions and mangled the air,


I walked from the divine Alameda Hotel,


across La Avenida Juarez to be caught in the cultural spell


of the Palacio de Bellas Artes.


Although I went to see the Ballet Folklorico and the Tiffany glass curtain,


in the galleries encompassing the theatre,


midst the over-sized modern, abstract paintings, I am certain


I saw a masterpiece of a family.


Within my frame of vision, a father and his five children


moved in silent unison


from one painting to the next,


sat several contemplative minutes


to embrace visually one particular oil.


Then, suddenly, the father stood


and his docent ducklings followed him to the next muted art lesson.


The family continued in this robotic fashion around the art gallery.


The middle-aged father with sons and daughters,


from (I imagine) age seven to fourteen,


imprinted upon me this breathtaking scene—


a masterpiece of a family,


forever brushed into my memory.



Post-script:  After my sister and I departed from Mexico City, we spent an unexpected extra night in Dallas, due to an ice storm.  At the hotel, the native Texans thought that Mary and I were astonishingly brave to walk on the slightly ice-covered sidewalks.  Then, the next day, back home again in Indiana, fourteen inches of fresh snow welcomed us. 


Best wishes for a warmer and happy March!



March 5, 2014, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Thanks for the trip through Mexico City. The city and the family must hold a special place in your heart. Great post. dp

  2. You must have had enough vision to appreciate the artwork. I can see pictures, but I can’t always determine what they are so I’ve never been much of an art enthusiast. This was an interesting post.

  3. Thank you for reminding me of many details of our wonderful trip to Mexico City, which I enjoyed very much! Our poor dad was so worried about his two girls traveling outside the US, but we managed very well with the help of your excellent knowledge of the language and the culture.
    Love, Mary

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: