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Inauguration Poem for Bill Rosendahl (unpublished)

Present in this photo are Mayor Riordan, Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Mayor Villaraigossa, Philomene Long, and Nancy Riordan.

Today, July 2, 2005, just before noon
In the full force of our Southern California sun
Before the Pacific Ocean
Surrounded by those whom he calls neighbor
As Bill Rosendahl speaks his oath of office
With him will be the voices of those
Who illuminated Venice 100 years ago
And with them our voices joining
In the full force of that original intention
To preserve and protect the body and soul of Venice

Venice, city conceived in imagination for imagination
With body intact -the canals, the welcoming houses
The people came. It happened - the magic -- unexplainable
Venice becoming the city imagined
A city like no other city on earth
Its community of Venetians giving her a soul
Bright. Transcendent. The soul of Venice
A gift, which cannot be bought nor stolen
This is the gift out right, freely given
To those open to receive it; for those who listen

But Venice transcendent still needs a body
It can be, has been, wounded
It can die; live on only in history

So we here today, as with previous Venetians
Welcome all as neighbor, loving freely
At the same time preserve and protect our radiant city
With magic and practicality
And with the hope of a pale green egg-almost iridescent
In a Venice afternoon light
That resolve passed on from those that have gone before us
For them as for ourselves, and for those that will follow
Will walk upon our footsteps into the next century
That the light of Venice not be extinguished
Nor diminished, nor simply be maintained.
But that light burn, burn, burn into a boundless luminosity!

-- Philomene Long

(C) Copyright Philomene Long Estate 2008-2011, All Rights Reserved. Photographs by Pegarty Long.

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