The following is a poem written by Mary Langer Thompson that originally appeared in “The Word,” Volume 3, 2008, a California Lutheran University publication.

Let orchards stand for fallen, swept away apples in a
barren square. Barbed wired, piercing.

Let the apple crate stand for desks where poets harvested poems,
where a soldier’s mother read the telegram.

Let the American flag hoisted daily over enemies not enemies
stand for those who saluted like servers slicing apple pie.

Let the memorial obelisk stand for rioters slain
over sugar fraud, sugar for apple sauce.

Paper cranes, delicate as apple blossoms, now blow in the wind.

The 2012-13 Senior Poet Laureate of California, Mary Langer Thompson lives in Apple Valley, California, with her husband, Dave. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she drove with her family on Route 66 in 1958 to live in Glendale, California, where she was raised. A retired school principal with an Ed.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, Thompson, 66, serves on the board of the California Retired Teachers Association, Tumbleweed Division. Her collection of forty poems, Poems in Water, was published by Green Fuse Poetic Arts of Loveland, Colorado in July 2014. The poem, “Manzanar” is included in that collection and was written after a visit to the site.

The views expressed in this poem are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of the Manzanar Committee.

LEAD PHOTO: Mary Langer Thompson. Photo courtesy Mary Langer Thompson.

Creative Commons License The Manzanar Committee’s Official web site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may copy, distribute and/or transmit any story or audio content published on this site under the terms of this license, but only if proper attribution is indicated. The full name of the author and a link back to the original article on this site are required. Photographs, graphic images, and other content not specified are subject to additional restrictions. Additional information is available at: Manzanar Committee Official web site – Licensing and Copyright Information.

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