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Colleen Jolly's Poem

FOCUS: Critical Conversations with Art

Published onSep 23, 2020
Colleen Jolly's Poem


On a frosty early morning the Border Crossing sculpture reflects the misty blue of a late fall campus.

Eleven feet of brilliantly colored fiberglass blends into a muted landscape of

gray-green grass, shadowy buildings and students

hunkered down to the chill.


Rugged sculpted faces unexpectedly pierce through the mist, fiercely meeting my gaze.

Intertwined, the family figures hold each others’ fate in the strength of their resolve.

Bowed with weight and care they move together,

on either side of their dangerous crossing.


Good fortune has taken me past this powerful dynamic message nearly every morning

for seven years. This fall it provides a metaphor for letting go and hanging on, for

unexplored territory and unchanged dedication

to family and community.


Your faces mirror that dedication for me. You have inspired me, challenged me

and supported me, even when my own feet were mired in rough roads of family realities.

You have ferociously taken on monumental tasks, never wavering

from your belief in the strength of families.


I am crossing safer borders but carrying the sculpture’s compelling image with me,

a message needing repetition in a fearful world.  You, who are colleagues and friends,

in this journey face daily crossings with resolve and caring.

Thank you for allowing me to walk next to you.

Colleen Jolly,  ISU Extension State Family Development Specialist, 1993-2007

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