Soundings at Inner Harbor

October 04, 1994|By David W. Kriebel

The Harbor has seen dusty ages,

back before the glittery,

glassy towers rising in their


Back when Bromo-Seltzer

was a real thing, when the clock

had a real existence in time.

The new towers dance lightly on the waters,

unmindful of their layers,

heavy with sediment, yet dancing feather light.

Like algae, age floats just beneath the surface.

There were steamboats, once,

sidewheelers, the Old Bay Line

tied up along Light Street.

There were smells --

oh, there were smells! --

and the harbor reeked with soap and spices and the Marsh Market's fish.

And everywhere was that awful cannery rot, which gurgled

up through town

and peeled the paint off ships.

Now kids roll in the harbor

and the long sheds

are only hiding brass-railed neon.

Pizza, running fountains, cinnabons:

the latest layer awaiting

future songs, are caught alive

in little magic boxes

held by tourists comfortable

in this place so like a hundred other places.

The tourists smile. In seeing

nothing, they say all:

"So this is Baltimore!"

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